Morehead in Motion: Lab to Life | Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

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Morehead in Motion: Lab to Life

After over a decade of traveling the state to bring unique lab experiences to students and the community, the mobile lab buses have retired!  However, students can receive a similar lab experience in their school.

MPSC’s Morehead in Motion: Lab to Life program is a selection of hands-on, narrative-driven lessons for middle and high school students. Students will take on the role of a scientist performing an everyday task or investigation that they might do as part of their job. Through these chemistry or biology-focused labs, students will have a chance to experience what it would be like to work in a variety of STEM careers and see the direct application of the skills and standards they are learning in their classes. Lab to Life curricula strive to cover the diversity of STEM itself and includes both laboratory work and field work. You can choose to have your students use gel electrophoresis for molecular analysis or use trigonometry and forester’s tools to determine the carbon sequestered in trees on your school’s campus, just to name a few of our offerings.

Planning Your Visit

Programs Offered | Fees and Requirements

Request a Visit | Cancellation Policy | Program Details

Due to the different equipment required for each module, and the time that would be needed to set up and break down the lab between different modules, we generally cannot accommodate requests for different modules all to take place on the same day.

To ensure adequate preparation time, the first session cannot begin before 8:30 am.

Programs Offered

  • Biological Bodyguards
  • Treegonometry
  • Deep Sea Detectives 
  • Mystery of the Crooked Cell​ 
  • #yesfilter
  • Hydroelectric Engineering Challenge

See detailed program information below.

Fees and Requirements

Morehead in Motion: Life to Lab Visits

  • $300 for a one-day visit, $150 for each additional consecutive day.
  • 3 sessions per day, maximum of 30 students per session (depends on class and equipment needs). Sessions are 75-90 minutes, with a minimum of 15 minutes between sessions to reset the lab stations.
  • The earliest time class can start is 8:30 A.M. This is due to the amount of time it takes to initially set up the lab stations, which can be up to 90 minutes.
  • Labs are led by the Morehead educator. Teacher must be present during labs.
  • A staff member must also be present to greet the educator when they arrive at your school. This person should be available to help unload and set up.
  • If your visit is for one day, the lab must be in the same location all day. If your visit is for multiple days, the lab should remain in the same location for each day.
  • Sites within a 90-mile radius of Chapel Hill have a $50 travel fee per day.
  • Sites more than 90 miles from Chapel Hill have an additional $200 travel fee per each day required. 

Request a Visit

  • Submit your request for a Lab to Life visit using the form at the top of the page.
  • Confirm with your school how fees will be paid and provide information on the online request form.
  • Forms submitted by early September of the current school year receive priority scheduling. Forms can be submitted at any time during the year. Scheduling for visits is based on remaining availability.
  • If selected to receive a visit, Morehead will send a notification email with visit dates and guidelines.

Cancellation Policy

Visits canceled two weeks prior to visit date are eligible for a refund of fees. Visits canceled less than two weeks prior to visit date are not eligible for a refund of fees. Morehead may waive this policy if the visit is canceled due to school closure for inclement weather, fire or other emergency condition

Program Details

  • Biological Bodyguards (ELISA Test) Recommended for Biology, Applied Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Allied Health, or 7th and 8th grade science. Students will use an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to test for a simulated antigen with real antibodies. This lab can be used to model how those in science and medical careers use this process to screen hypothetical patients for disease, test water samples for toxins, or another narrative that you request.

  • Treegonometry (Field Study) Recommended for Biology, Earth/Environmental Science, Forestry courses, Trigonometry, Geometry, or 6th, 7th, or 8th grade science. Investigate complex relationships between organisms and the physical and biological environment, as well as the movement of energy and materials within an ecosystem. Employ various environmental sampling technologies to determine the disposition of both biotic and abiotic factors within an assigned study site. Students can also use and learn forestry techniques and tools to measure the size, weight, and carbon content of trees.
    NOTE: This lab is conducted outside. As such, it is weather-dependent and is only offered in September, October, late March, April, and May.

  • Deep Sea Detectives (DNA Fingerprinting) Recommended for Biology, Forensics, or Oceanography courses. Become an oceanographer and use gel electrophoresis (aka DNA restriction analysis) to analyze simulated seawater samples to detect environmental DNA in order to search for and document new species that call the ocean’s mysterious twilight zone home.

  • Mystery of the Crooked Cell (Gel Electrophoresis) Recommended for Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Allied health. Discover the molecular basis of sickle cell disease and use gel electrophoresis as a diagnostic tool to differentiate wild-type hemoglobin from mutated hemoglobin found in individuals with sickle cell disease.  Module developed by Boston University School of Medicine CityLab.

  • #yesfilter (Water Treatment) Recommended for Chemistry, Earth/Environmental Science, Biology, engineering courses, or 7th or 8th grade Science. Investigate water chemistry and purity in this lab. We’ll discuss pH to see the connections between water, acid/base chemistry, and life. Then, we’ll simulate part of the water treatment process by creating a custom filter to clean a sample of polluted water.

  • Hydroelectric Engineering Challenge Recommended for Physics, Earth/Environmental Science, Physical Science, Biology, or 6th, 7th, or 8th grade science. Learn the fundamentals of all of our electrical power generation by researching the relationship between electricity and magnetism, and how this led to the development of the electric motor. We’ll discuss renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, and engage in the engineering cycle to create a prototype hydroelectric turbine.

More Info