Can we come back tomorrow, and every single day?

8th Grader, P.S. 4 Washington Heights

The BioBus mobile science lab parks in front of schools and gives teachers and students access to research microscopes.  On a typical day, 6 classes of up to 30 students each can board the bus.  Our lessons typically last 45 minutes and cover a variety of subjects. Use the menu below to learn more about our lessons.

Recommended for students boarding BioBus for the first time

Explore the inner workings of Daphnia, a shrimp-like animal found in ponds and puddles across NYC and the country. This millimeter-long crustacean has a transparent shell; using the state-of-the-art microscopes on board the BioBus, students have the unique opportunity to observe the inner workings and properties of a live animal. They will also use a hand-held microscope to explore the hidden structure of the world around them: their clothes, their shoes and even their own bodies. They will draw the microscopic texture of their skin, the shapes in their hair, the fibers of their T-shirts. Students will leave the BioBus with the better understanding of how to relate the structure and functions of living and nonliving objects.

Recommended for: PreK - 1

Explore the inner workings of Daphnia, a shrimp-like animal found in ponds and puddles across NYC and the country. This millimeter-long crustacean has a transparent shell; using the state-of-the-art microscopes on board the BioBus, students have the unique opportunity to observe the inner workings of a live animal, including a beating heart, twitching muscles, digestive system, and more. They will also use a hand-held digital microscope to study much bigger animals: themselves! They will explore the characteristics of their body, looking for traits that make us mammals. They will observe their skin under the microscope, the structure of their eyes, and discuss the function of the hair in their ears. Students will leave the BioBus with a better understanding of the parts that form the body of an animal- big or small.

Recommended for: 2-3

Many of our students think that bugs are fascinating – we do too! In this lesson, students will use microscopes to observe and compare familiar insects (and crustaceans) in an unfamiliar way. Under the microscope, bugs have hair and spines and whole lot of other traits that are invisible to the naked eye. We ask our students what these traits are for and talk about how bugs can survive so well while staying so small.

Recommended for: Pre K - 3

Wriggling and tumbling, paramecia, amoeba and bacteria race across the screen of the BioBus video microscopes, revealing the diversity and complexity of single-celled organisms. Observing Daphnia, students discover how skin, muscle, nerve, and blood cells have evolved from these single-celled organisms to work together inside the ecosystem a living animal, and how Daphnia interacts with the microscopic elements of its freshwater ecosystem.

Recommended for: Grades 4 - 12

Uncover the incredible organization in all living organisms -- moving from organism to organs to cells to organelles -- in just one class period. Students will observe Daphnia, a transparent crustacean just a few millimeters long; under the microscope, they will easily see its organs and then, with another turn of the microscope knob, the cells within those organs. They can compare Daphnia's cells to their own, which they can swab and see easily using the high-power BioBus microscopes. The organelles of your students' own cells are revealed in living color, along with the organelles of other animal cells and plant cells using powerful video microscopes.

Recommended for: Grades 6 - 12

Aboard the BioBus, key concepts on the L.E. Regents Exam come to life. BioBus scientists have designed *four* distinct labs that directly reinforce knowledge and skills students need for the lab-related questions in Part D of the L.E. Regents. All labs contain a quick refresher on the parts of a microscope, as students gain hands-on experience with advanced microscopy; additional topics can include osmosis & diffusion, food webs & ecosystems, experimental design & data analysis, or the levels of organization in biology. Our scientists will work with you to determine which of these labs is best for your students – hopefully, we will have enough time to cover them all!

Recommended for: Grades 9-12

Recommended for students who have been on the BioBus before

Observe, first hand, the remarkable results of 500 million years of evolution! Students will use microscopes to observe the form and function of several adaptations that have allowed arthropods (e.g. insects and crustaceans) to thrive and become the most diverse group of animals on earth. We will also discuss how an organism’s ecosystem can impact the traits it evolves.

Recommended for: Grades 4-8; recommended for students who have been on the BioBus once before

Discover the microscopic material properties of food, and learn how ordinary ingredients lead to an amazing variety of delectable delights. In this lesson, students explore concepts of physical science by mixing, beating and shaking everyday kitchen ingredients and observing their changes both by eye and under the research microscopes. BioBus scientists will lead the discussion covering phases of matter, mixtures and solutions, and highlight how properties of the foods that we eat are determined by the particles in their ingredients. Students will be working with eggs and dairy in this lesson. They should not come into direct contact with these materials, but be mindful of any allergies!

Recommended for: Grades 4 - 12

Students will experience what it is like to be a true research scientist -- conducting multiple experimental trials, collecting and analyzing data to answer an scientific question. The vast majority of biology experiments are done not using human subjects, but on simpler, smaller organisms -- and the experiments we do on the BioBus are no different. Using Daphnia as a model organism, students add different chemicals to Daphnia's environment and study how this affects Daphnia's physiology by measuring its heart rate both before and after the treatment. They will also stimulate Daphnia with lights of different colors and quantify the animals' behavioral response, learning how these simple kinds of behavioral studies teach us about our own responses to stimuli.

Recommended for: Grades 6 - 12; recommended for students who have been on the BioBus once before

BioBase programs are in-depth science programs in state-of-the-art community science labs. Students in BioBase programs use research-grade microscopes during after-school, weekend, and summer science explorations. BioBus research scientists lead courses in biological science, environmental science, and materials science that nurture students’ natural curiosity and critical thinking skills over the course of many sessions. BioBase programs are offered in West Harlem at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute.

Afterschool BioBase programs allow students to fulfill their scientific potential. Over the course of the semester, students learn to formulate and test their own hypotheses. Students engage in lessons from a variety of scientific fields such as biological sciences, environmental sciences, and materials science. Currently, BioBus partners with existing community programs to offer research science experiences to the community.

Recommended for: grades 3-12

Sunday Science occurs in 4-session blocks throughout the school year. Students are guided on an amazing scientific journey in one of our varied topics. The class is conducted in small experimental groups to increase the scientist-to-student ratio and to maximize the students' hands-on scientific exploration.

Recommended for: ages 8-12

During summer camp, students engage in week-long hands-on scientific exploration. Working side-by-side with research scientists, students will develop hypotheses and design experiments. Check back for details for next summer!

Recommended for: Ages 8 - 14