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Frequently Asked Questions
SD MOBILE SCIENCE LAB
How did the Mobile Science Lab “Science on the Move” begin?
“Science on the Move” was the brainchild of several professors and businessmen from Brookings (SDSU) and Vermillion (USD). They had a vision of providing quality, high-tech, hands-on science to the students in SD schools, especially those students in small, rural schools. This vision was turned into a reality when former Governor William Janklow allocated funds for the construction of the Mobile Science Labs.
How were the MSL’s built?
Under the direction of former Governor William Janklow and members of the Math, Science and Technology Council, two 53’ semi-trailer trucks were converted into mobile labs. Funding was provided through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The labs were constructed by inmates at Mike Durfee State Prison. The computers and electronics were installed by instructors at Mitchell Technical Institute. The labs have been traveling to schools since February, 2003.
What was the purpose of the Mobile Science Labs?
The primary purpose of the MSL’s was to provide SD students with an opportunity to perform science lab activities with advanced equipment, technology, and methods that are usually not available in small schools. The goal was to excite students and teachers about science and to encourage students to consider science as a possible career choice.
How are the MSL’s funded?
Governor Mike Rounds and the SD Legislature have provided funding for the MSL project through the 2008 school year. The Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education at Black Hills State University was in charge of the project until funding was dropped by the Governor's Office.
How did schools get to use the Mobile Science Labs?
Week-long workshops were held to acquaint teachers with the equipment and technology aboard the MSL’s. Teachers who attended these workshops had the opportunity to schedule the MSL at their school.
What science activities were available aboard the MSL’s?
Here is the complete listing of activities available.
The mobile lab had 11 lab stations with computers at each station. In addition, 10 laptop computers were available for use in classrooms. Students performed a wide variety of lab activities in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science at the high school level. In addition, numerous lab activities were available for students in grades 5 through 8. The special science equipment onboard the MSLs made it possible for students and teachers to do hands-on investigations that are not possible in most schools.
Who operated the Mobile Science Labs?
Jerry Opbroek, Mitchell, was the coordinator of the Mobile Science Labs. He taught high school science for 38 years, the last 30 years in Mitchell. Mr. Opbroek was the scientist on board MSL #1.
Bob Vanderlinde, Elk Point, is the scientist on board MSL #2. He taught high school science for 31 years, 6 years at Estelline, SD, and 25 years at Elk Point, SD. At each school visited, Mr. Vanderlinde and Mr. Opbroek set up the equipment, instruct the classes, and assisted the local teachers in making the MSL visit an enjoyable and educational experience for students.