12/10/12 — Mobile lab makes stop in Rosewood

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Mobile lab makes stop in Rosewood

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 10, 2012 1:46 PM

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Alexander Godwin, an eighth-grader at Rosewood Middle School, participates in a blood typing experiment aboard the UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center mobile lab unit that recently visited the school.

Amina Bash has big plans when she grows up.

The 11-year-old would like to become a brain surgeon.

Katrina Rhodehouse, 12, says she wants to be veterinarian.

So the seventh-graders at Rosewood Middle School especially enjoyed the mobile science lab that pulled into the school parking lot earlier this week.

As part of the DESTINY Traveling Science Program provided by the planetarium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about 48 seventh- and eighth-grade students in the AIG, or academically and intelligently gifted, program were able to discover science in a new way.

The hour-long lab focused on blood type, cells and genes.

Nick Hoffman, educator with the traveling lab, directed the first group to put a blood sample in each of the four compartments on the tray before them.

It was really a "synthetic substance," operations manager Jeff Parrish said, pointing out that they don't use real blood in the experiment but it gets the same results.

Students mixed samples and observed what happened next. They were instructed to notice which coagulated and later how to determine blood type.

Seventh-grader Logan Dixe enjoys science and said afterward he appreciated the opportunity to engage in the hands on experiment.

"It was something I knew about but we had not learned in class yet," he said. "(I learned) that the mixing of the blood is easier if you have the proper equipment."

"I really like the part that we were testing the blood," said classmate Shidaria Solomon, 12, who aspires to become a doctor or forensic scientist when she grows up.

"It was cool to see what kind of blood it was and how it clots together," said Katrina.

Amina agreed it was a fun activity.

"We don't always get to experiment like that in class," she said. "I didn't know that blood cells, that there were so many different types of antibodies and how different they look."

"I never really did anything like that," said Shidaria.

Seventh-grader Alexsia Ward, 13, suggested that "all kids would like to do this."

"I think they should have more of that, not just for the AIG students, for all students, and I think they would learn a lot more," agreed Amina.

Parrish said the planetarium program features two buses that travel the state, visiting middle and high schools with different science programs. The DESTINY -- which stands for Delivering Edge-cutting Science Technology and Internet Across North Carolina for Years to come -- program is Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's formal initiative that provides science learning to students and support for teachers.

Gail Elmore, AIG specialist at Rosewood Middle, said the district was able to bring the opportunity to Wayne County after meeting certain criteria.

"In order to have the program come to the school, you have to participate in a workshop in the summer," she said. She had attended this past summer.