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Cell Motion BioBus
September 1, 2010

I first heard about the BioBus about a year and a half ago at a meeting of the Future Science Educators group in NYC. I began volunteering soon after and have seen the program develop first-hand. The BioBus is a mobile lab on wheels - bringing research grade microscopes and computers to students who otherwise wouldn't have access to such equipment. We started off small, but are working to develop our curriculum and better connect our lessons with the state standards and what students are learning in the classroom. We are formalizing lesson plans and preparing activities for teachers to do in the classroom before and after our visit - this helps the students get the most out of our visit as possible. I love science, and even more, I love teaching science. Kids ask fabulous questions. It's also important to show them that science is done by people - people just like them. The BioBus gives them first-hand experience doing experiments and the chance to interact directly with "real scientists."

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've worked on the BioBus under several different circumstances. We've done formal lessons at schools, covering all grades from K-12. We've also been at street fairs and other festivals, allowing the general public to look at their cheek cells.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand it. With one bus and 3 microscopes, the BioBus has already managed to reach literally thousands of students. With two or three buses, many more students could experience science first-hand. We also need to make sure teachers know about the bus.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching students' excitement as they see their own cells under the microscope.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Ben is the director, and until recently he was the only full-time employee. The rest of us were volunteers. Recently he was able to hire two full-time employees who are fantastic. There's also an army of volunteers, grad students, postdocs, teachers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

build more buses with different types of equipment. Perhaps a BioBus, a ChemBus, and a PhysicsBus.

Ways to make it better...

the lesson plans were more formalized so that teachers would know exactly what to do. We're currently working on that, and are continually working with teachers to improve our curriculum.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting the word out that we're here and convincing schools that the experience we give students is important and valuable.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Ben is SO passionate about improving science education - it's impossible not to get caught up in his enthusiasm!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I helped introduce NYC students to experimental science.