Rolling classroom: 45-foot lab on wheels makes science fun for area kids

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SEATTLE —  Getting kids interested in science and math can be a challenge.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Education says eighth-grade science scores have barely budged since 2007.

But a group of doctors and scientists at Seattle Children`s Hospital are working to change that.

They know that if you make science fun, kids enjoy learning. And that’s why the Mobile Science Adventure Lab was born.

It`s a 45-foot lab on wheels.

And while the outside will get your attention, it`s what`s on the inside that`s turning heads.

“Science is real cool,” fifth-grader Jason Benton of Madrona Elementary said.

After just one day in the lab, 12-year-old Jason wants to be a scientist.

“It is fun, I like hanging out here, because it`s a lab, you can wear goggles to do experiments.”

Dr. Amanda Jones runs the lab. She said that since it hit the road in the fall of 2009, they`ve visited 144 different schools in Washington serving 35,000 students.

"A lot of kids in low-income schools in Washington don`t have a chance to do really great authentic science experiments, so we built this as a physical extension of our research institute," Jones said.

On the day Q13 FOX News was there, Jones was leading a group of fifth-graders from Madrona Elementary in SeaTac through a series of experiments -- from testing their sense of smell to identifying animal brains and learning how the human brain works.

But the mobile lab can't visit every school. In fact, they get three to eight applications for each open spot.

So they launched a website -- www.adventurelab.org -- that takes kids into an interactive lab, just like the mobile one.

"Teachers can go there. There are curriculum resources. Kids can go there, to do things at home with their parents. Science activities they can just do at home in their kitchen."

Back in the bus, Camille Collins is learning about how the brain powers the body.

"Electricity is in our brain and then it goes in our brain through our spine, and it signals our nerves and that`s how we move our muscles," she said.

At 10 years old, she`s sold.

"I think I want to be a scientist," she said.

The science adventure lab is booked for the 2014-2015 school year. But you can visit their website to check out interactive games and science experiments to try in class or at home.

Just go to www.adventurelab.org.

 

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