Virtual field trip connects students with Purdue scientists
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Thousands of Indiana middle school students will visit Purdue University from their desks on Sept. 17.
Thanks to the Internet, videoconferencing technology and Indiana Public Broadcasting stations, more than 7,500 sixth-graders at 100-plus schools and home schools will watch and interact with scientists from Purdue Agriculture and the university's School of Veterinary Medicine.
"We're All Animals" is the first Purdue zipTrips electronic field trip. The 45-minute live program begins at 9:30 a.m. EST. During the program, students will learn comparative biology and how it applies to humans and animals. One segment features Laurent Couëtil, a professor of large animal medicine, demonstrating his horse treadmill.
Sixth-grade teachers at public, private and home schools with Internet access can register their classes for the free Sept. 17 program. To register, visit the zipTrips Web site at http://www.purdue.edu/ziptrips. In addition to the live program, teachers can receive optional classroom-based curriculum and activities.
ZipTrips is intended to expose students to science in a fun and engaging way, said Jamie Loizzo, zipTrips project manager. Schools benefit, as well, she said.
"The idea is to give students real-world examples of what a job in science may look like, spark their interest and encourage them to consider a science career in the future," Loizzo said.
"In addition, many schools are unable at this time to cover the cost of a traditional field trip. It's very exciting to provide them a free virtual field trip experience, where students can get a firsthand look at cutting-edge science going on here at Purdue."
Purdue zipTrips is a five-year project partially funded through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Purdue Agriculture, Purdue's veterinary school and Discovery Learning Research Center.
A "We're All Animals" pilot program took place during the fall of 2008 and received good reviews from an advisory board of middle school teachers and school administrators, Loizzo said.
"We will pilot a seventh-grade program called 'Disease Detectives' in November for a scheduled public release in fall 2010," she said.
For additional information about zipTrips and to preview a live show, visit the zipTrips Web site.
Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415, email@example.com
Source: Jamie Loizzo, 765-494-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Note to Journalists: Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend two zipTrips "We're All Animals" rehearsals. The rehearsals take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 8 and 15 in the Stewart Center studio on Purdue's West Lafayette campus. Media also can view the Sept. 17 live "We're All Animals" program in Purdue's Pfendler Auditorium. The program runs from 9:30-10:15 a.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time. For more information, contact Steve Leer, Purdue Agricultural Communication, at 765-494-8415, firstname.lastname@example.org