Hands-On Learning is Fun in the BioBus

20180131_120048_previewBY: PAMELA STERN

Frederick Douglas Academy VIII’s  (FDA VIII) sixth, seventh and eighth graders were in for a great hands-on science lesson when they boarded the BioBus on Wednesday, January 31st.

Some students were excited to be back on the BioBus, while for others it was their first time experiencing this laboratory on wheels.

20180131_112618_previewThe lessons were tailored for the different grade levels, enhancing their science knowledge with a hands-on learning approach.

All of the students took a clipboard and a pencil and they were ready for this great new educational experience. Each class was divided into two groups, these groups split boarding the BioBus.  In order for the students to get the most out of this experience, one group went into the front section of the bus and the others went into the back and then they switched.

“The BioBus experience for scholars at FDA VIII is a game changing experience. It’s an experience that will last a lifetime and change the course of their lives. It is science coming alive and making the impossible possible, also making things visible and hands-on,” said Robert Burnside, Assistant Principal of FDA VIII.


One of the first things that the students learned was that the bus was solar powered and there were solar panels on its roof. The 7th graders learned about cells and they saw on a slide under a microscope some human cells. One of the first things that they noticed while looking at the human cells under the microscope was that they were moving. They also saw single plant cells. Some students had never used a microscope before and they were in awe of the way that they could see tiny microorganisms magnified by it.

Anthony Buchfuhrer, who was on the BioBus last year, thought that this year was even better than last year. “It is very interactive and allows you to participate. I was happy to see what was new this year, and how the BioBus improved with technology,” said Buchfuhrer.

20180131_114738_previewAnother lesson on the BioBus was about how cells grow and divide, replenish themselves, and form partnerships. Using the microscope was something that the youngsters enjoyed. They also were able to see an Electronic Microscope which allows the viewer to see objects magnified 200 times bigger than it is.

Sixth grader, Josabet Duvan  thought this was a nice experience to see things that are so small under a microscope. “Wow, this is so cool. I think this is an amazing experience to see all of the organisms that close up,” said Duvan.

Shahriza Masbafi, whose first time on the BioBus thought it was very big and different.  “At first, I was doubting that I would like it, but then I became very interested in it.  I enjoyed the observation and writing notes part. This hands-on experience has me excited for my future science classes,” said Masbafi.

20180131_132801_previewJermaine  Marmolejos, a sixth grader, thought the BioBus was interesting. “I have never had an experience like this before.  I had never seen a Daphnia before but, hearing about it and actually seeing it was very interesting.  This made me think about science in a different way and made me think that science is cool. Now, I am excited to learn more. The electronic microscope was my favorite part because you can see everything on tiny little organisms. We looked at a hair on the slide and were able to see the microorganisms and it was huge. If I were to explain to my friends who have never been on the BioBus what it is, I would say, it is a place where you go to see microscopic organisms. It makes you think about how they are similar to humans because they need food and can reproduce. This makes you think that science is unique. I would like to see other organisms that I have never seen before. I hope that the BioBus comes back next year,” said Marmolejos.

Photos by Pamela Stern

One of the classes got to see a Daphnia give birth during their lesson.

Here is the video: