New zipTrips program available for seventh-graders this fall

March 11, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - This fall, seventh-grade students will learn how to investigate animal diseases in the new Purdue University zipTrips program "Disease Detectives."

Purdue zipTrips are 45-minute live broadcasts that introduce middle schoolers to the world of science with a focus on comparative biology. The programs are aired on Indiana Public Broadcast stations and online via videoconferencing or Web streaming.

"Disease Detectives" will air at 10 a.m. EST Nov. 18. The program is interactive and allows students to engage virtually with Purdue scientists, said Jamie Loizzo, Purdue zipTrips project manager.

"Disease Detectives" will feature a dog's visit to the dentist. Students will learn about bacteria and germs and how those relate to diseases and hygiene in the body, Loizzo said.

Teachers from public, private and home schools can register for the free program anytime before the airtime. Along with the live broadcast, there are supplementary videos and lesson plans available to interested teachers.

For more information and to register, visit the zipTrips Web site at

Last year approximately 9,000 sixth-grade students from Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Indonesia tuned in to watch the zipTrips program "We're All Animals." Another "We're All Animals" program airs for sixth-grade students at 10 a.m. EST Sept. 16. Teachers can register their classes at the zipTrips Web site.

Loizzo hopes zipTrips will draw more young viewers this year.

"We had great feedback last year," she said. "Teachers said, 'Thank you so much for providing this to our kids. They would never be exposed to these types of science careers or these areas where scientists work if you weren't doing it this way.'"

Purdue zipTrips is a five-year project that is partially funded through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue Agriculture and the Discovery Learning Research Center.

An eighth-grade zipTrips program about genetics is currently in development and will be available for the 2011-12 academic year.

Writer: Julie Preble, 765-494-8402,

Source: Jamie Loizzo, 765-494-8400,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer,
Agriculture News Page