Texas Tech University

Traveling Labs

Traveling Lab Curriculum
CISER delivers fully equipped and supplied laboratories to high school and junior high school classrooms throughout the South Plains and beyond. Listed below are the current traveling labs offered this academic year (click below for more information).


Examine the physics of the human body using this favorite, engaging lab with biomechanics, the branch of science dealing with the effects of energy and forces on biological systems. The musculoskeletal system, although complex, obeys the basic laws of mechanics. This is an excellent lab for IPC, Biology or Anatomy & Physiology classes designed to provide students with a scientific basis for understanding how levers are applied to the human body. Hands-on experiences introduce the basic concepts of joint movement, muscle activity and classes of levers. Students will conduct experiments, answer questions, perform calculations and graph data from human joint models.

Biotechnology - DNA Electrophoresis

Bring current biotechnology to the science classroom. Our Biotechnology Traveling Lab offers 3 different options for the science classroom. All three options contain many of the same activities such as extracting DNA, building DNA models and conducting forensic analysis of DNA fragments from gel pictures. When requesting this lab, teachers must indicate which one of the three options they prefer:
  1. Crime Scene – Bring CSI to the classroom as a means to help students better understand DNA and its uses in society. The teacher sets up a crime scene and students run DNA samples to determine the guilty suspect. DNA simulating a victim and 3 suspects is provided.
  2. Forensic Analysis: King Tut – the newest addition to the biotechnology labs. Using clips from the amazing new video, King Tut Unwrapped, students will unravel mysteries surrounding this young pharaoh. Through DNA electrophoresis lab activities, students will determine which pharaoh was King Tut's father, in addition to determining the relationship of King Tut to other mummies. Students learn about the mummification process and perform an intriguing "preservation experiment." They will also engage in math activities with bone ratios and building tools, a geocaching activity involving hieroglyphics and completion of a pedigree chart for King Tut. DNA will be provided for two activities:
    1. Who is Tut's Father?
    2. Mitochondrial DNA Question.

Body Systems - Case by Case: An Investigation of Human Body Systems

Engage students in a role-playing activity to learn about the eleven body systems. As interns theybstudy the symptoms of assigned patients in an emergency room setting. Students are challenged to determine which diagnostic tests to run, in addition to learning the normal values for each of these tests. Activities include blood typing (artificial blood), lung function testing, blood pressure monitoring, bone dissection, suture technique and examination of X-rays. At the conclusion of the lab, each student group gives a presentation, explaining their patient's symptoms, diagnostic test results, and prognosis.

CPO Force and Motion

Make physics concepts related to force and motion come alive in your classroom with this lab. Newton's laws will have more meaning with engaging applications. Cars and ramps, roller coasters, a marble launcher, and pendulums make this traveling lab fun and exciting.

CPO Simple Machines

Challenge students to calculate and understand the concept of mechanical advantage of simple machines through actual experiences. The CPO nationally recognized equipment is a favorite in classrooms. Materials include ropes with pulleys and gears with levers that allow students to discover concepts related to simple machines. The lab comes ready for your students to engage in a hands-on learning experience.

Geology - Our Changing Earth

Challenge students to apply higher level thinking skills as they engage in relevant, motivating earth science topics. They observe and analyze patterns from data and models to draw evidence for topics specified in state and national standards. Our exciting new earth science activities require students to think like scientists as they work with maps, manipulatives and technology applications to draw evidence for plate tectonics. Students also map earthquakes on real time and generate computer models of volcanoes formed under different conditions. They analyze computer images of minerals at the molecular level to derive a hardness scale based on images and formation, prior to actual testing. Students construct and analyze topography maps using models. The activities are designed to cover standards in grades 6-8 and can be modified for high school level Earth and Space Science.

Microscopy - Biology of Disaster Relief

Engage students in a role-playing scenario as volunteers with the Youth Relief Corps in Southeast Asia following a tsunami. They must identify the infectious agent connected to an outbreak of disease in a refugee camp. Activities include an outbreak simulation to determine "patient zero," streaking bacterial plates, identifying bacterial shapes and arrangements, performing a Gram stain on bacteria samples and determining bacterial sensitivity to antibiotics using the Kirby-Bauer test.

Plants - The Spectrum

This newly redesigned lab looks at plant adaptations both macroscopically and microscopically. The germination requirements of Arabidopsis thaliana are investigated along with NPK values of soils and commercial fertilizers. Digital spectrophotometers are used to determine the absorption spectrum of chlorophyll and accessory pigments. Students are challenged to evaluate promotional claims about "all natural" herbal remedies and the new microscopy protocol enables students to view plant tissue without the fuss of a microtome or multiple stains. Students learn how to write a taxonomic key and then use one to determine the names of gymnosperms.

Water Chemistry

Explore water quality with this traveling lab prepared for on-site applications. The kit includes pre-measured test chemicals to determine the quality of different water sources and allows students to make predictions about the water's environmental impact. Digital titrators, which make titrations a breeze, are used in the tests for dissolved oxygen, hardness, chloride and carbon dioxide. Other tests include nitrate, ammonia, nitrite and pH. Activities that will engage and challenge students to problem solve include "Hard Water Bubble Trouble" and "Farmer Frank." A wonderful teacher demonstration, "Contamination in the Parts Per Billion," helps students visualize what ppb really
means. In another activity students enjoy the dramatization of the "Water Drop Water Cycle" as they move around the room from station to station.

PASCO Equipment

Choose from our large selection of PASCO sensors and Explorer GLX's. This equipment is checked out on a "piece-by-piece" basis rather than being bundled together in a trunk. All teachers who have received PASCO training with us are eligible to check out this equipment. We are currently making a complete inventory of our equipment and will post the information. Teachers will be able to individualize their requests for the equipment by indicating which sensors and probeware they want.

Green Engineering PBL

Assign students the task of finding a greener method for cleaning a contaminated water source to meet EPS drinking-water standards. In this project-based-learning application, students design systems to remove colloids, larger particles and microbes from polluted water. Activities guide them through an understanding of applications, but they are charged with designing a system and adding a green element. Equipment includes an industrial quality stirring apparatus (industrial quality used at water treatment plants), an incubator, agar plates, pipettes, UV light apparatus, and chemicals including bleach and alum. Teachers will need to provide sand, gravel, rocks and 3-L soda bottles for filters.

Physics of Sound PBL

Introduce project-based-learning by having students create musical wind structures meeting project constraints specified for a symphony orchestra garden. Students role-play as design teams given the task of building structures that play a specified chord and meet aesthetic requirements. The STEM activities provide the necessary foundation for waves, frequency, chords and resonance and require students to mathematically calculate specifications for designing the final product.