Mobile Lab Experience
The KDHE Mobile Laboratory Experience (MLE) is an immersive, educational experience brought to K-12 public schools across Kansas.
Featuring hands-on science experiences taught by professional educators and scientists, this onsite field trip is completely grant funded and available for a limited time.
Through the wonder of science, the MLE introduces Public Health and inspires future scientists in the related sectors of biology, animal science, environmental science, genetics, chemistry and more!
Indoor Lab Activities
Dazzling DNA Extraction
Students mash strawberries in an extraction solution to open cell walls, releasing the abundant DNA. The long, stringy, DNA strands are then filtered and precipitated out of solution. A colorful DNA double helix model compliments this lesson and demonstrates DNA features. This experience is offered for grades 3-9 with increasing complexity. For high school students with advanced biology and chemistry experience, a more complex Quiagen extraction experience is offered.
From a One Health perspective, colorful posters help explain the benefits and risks of mosquitos. Students will identify and label mosquito anatomy and use magnifying glasses, along with touch and smell, to explore mosquito-repelling plants. This experience is especially designed for K-2 grades.
Glowing Germs Goodbye
K-6 grade students become aware of keeping themselves and their pets healthy, how germs can spread and why handwashing is important. Includes black lights and Glo Germ.
With a variety of slides offer a look into microorganisms and cells while students wait for the DNA to precipitate. iPads with NIH science games are also available inside the MLE.
Outdoor Lab Activities
Keeping It Healthy Game
Based on the Swiss Cheese Model, large, colorful, fabric banners with strategically placed holes become “barriers to infectious disease” attempting to stop virus particles (COVID-shaped balls) from infecting their targets.
Making their own watersheds, students experience how watersheds are formed and gain awareness of how watersheds are affected by the environment.
Demonstrates one way separation science is used to identify chemicals in water sources.
Feel confident that the Mobile Laboratory Experience is safe and enriching. All MLE lessons have been reviewed by a KDHE Biosafety Officer. Students are provided safety glasses and gloves for MLE activities, along with lab safety instructions.
Any student allergies are confidentially communicated before the MLE event and appropriate considerations are made.
Bring the Mobile Lab Experience to You
Designed with educators in mind, Prep-Packets are delivered to classrooms after scheduling the MLE. These packets include materials and ideas to enhance the MLE before and after the event.
Mobile Lab History
The Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL) stated mission is “To provide timely and accurate analytical information for public health benefit in Kansas and to assure the quality of statewide laboratory services through certification and improvement programs”.
KHEL, a bureau of KDHE, sought innovative ways to manage COVID-19 testing and clinics during the recent pandemic years. Acquiring and outfitting two mobile laboratories brought expedient and needed help for citizens across Kansas, as KHEL performed many on-site COVID-19 rapid antigen and PCR testing for people who did not have access to traditional testing locations.
As the need for mobile laboratory services decreased with the lower prevalence of COVID-19 throughout the state, the mobile laboratory vehicles became available for educational and outreach programs, while always having them at the ready to respond to public health and environmental emergencies throughout the state of Kansas.
Around this time, a CDC Workforce Development Grant was awarded to the agency, making the KDHE Mobile Laboratory Experience a fun and exciting opportunity for Kansas students.