Electronic field trip brings science to students

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — This fall, sixth-grade students across Indiana can take a field trip without ever leaving their classrooms.

Through the wonders of technology, students will interactively visit Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue Agriculture and Discovery Learning Center at Purdue, where they’ll learn about the similarities and differences between humans and animals.

Date and time

“We’re All Animals,” the 45-minute live program Sept. 17, is the first Purdue zipTrips electronic field trip. The program begins at 9:30 a.m.

“We’re trying to engage kids in science and make science experiences at Purdue more widely available to schools that might not be able to visit us in person,” said Carol McGrew, zipTrips project manager in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Communication.

“Through zipTrips, we’re offering schools an alternative to traditional field trips and helping them stretch their limited resources.”

Sixth-grade teachers at public, private and home schools with Internet access can register their classes for the September zipTrips program.

It’s free

Registration is free. To register, visit the zipTrips Web site at www.purdue.edu/ziptrips. In addition to the live program, teachers can receive optional classroom-based curriculum and activities.

The program can be viewed via Web and Internet protocol videoconferencing.

The program will feature scientists from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Purdue Agriculture. Student viewers will learn about the work they do and be able to ask questions during the show via e-mail, McGrew said.

“In this first show we’ll compare the body systems of kids and animals,” she said. “We’ll talk about bones and body movement. The centerpiece will be Laurent Couetil and his horse treadmill.”

About the project

ZipTrips is a five-year project made possible by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue Agriculture and the Discovery Learning Center.

Over the next two years, zipTrips electronic field trips will be added for seventh- and eighth-graders, McGrew said.

“While zipTrips is aimed at Indiana students, these programs could potentially reach students beyond our state, as well,” said McGrew.

For more information, visit the zipTrips Web site.

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