Wynia participates in ‘Science on the Move’

Wynia participates in 'Science on the Move' After another year of bringing science to students across the state, the Science on the Move trucks have taken a detour to South Dakota State University.

For the third consecutive summer, SDSU is serving as a temporary home to two 53-foot semis, tools of the South Dakota Science on the Move program. The trucks come equipped with items ranging from computers and microscopes to sophisticated computer-based scientific sensors.

The mobile labs give students and teachers across the state the chance to learn and use tools that may not otherwise be accessible.

Thirty-four teachers, including Larry Wynia of Wakonda, attended the first of two workshops held June 6-10 on the SDSU campus in Brookings. The second SDSU workshop will take place June 20-24. Black Hills State University in Spearfish will host a third workshop.

"The Mobile Science Lab(s) provide access to lab equipment that is not available to students and teachers," said physics professor Judy Vondruska, workshop coordinator. "Students have opportunities to do a wide variety of hands-on experiments in almost every area of science."

Both middle- and high-school teachers participating in the five-day workshops experiment with several areas of science, including physics, chemistry, biology and earth science. Activities range from DNA fingerprinting and working with "evidence" in a criminalistics lesson, to using Global Positioning Satellite, or GPS, units.

"One of the advantages of the workshop is that they (participating workshop teachers) get to have the trucks come to their school," said Bob Vanderlinde, a retired science teacher from Elk Point who drives one of the semis. An estimated 20,000 South Dakota students from 96 schools saw the trucks last year, he said. That number increased from 76 schools last year; an additional 54 new schools will join the schedule this year.

A Science on the Move lab visit lasts about three days and involves all students, not just middle- and high-schoolers, Vanderlinde said. Often, younger students will get to see demonstrations.

The program began under former Gov. William Janklow's administration. Funding for the project's construction flowed through the Governor's Office for Economic Development. The state continues to provide funding, so the semis make visits at no cost to schools.

The idea for "Science on the Move" came from professors and businessmen at both Brookings and Vermillion. The Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education at BHSU currently directs the project.

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