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2011.03.07 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO Welcomes King Science Students March 9

Omaha - On Wednesday, March 9, seventh- and eighth-graders from King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School will visit the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) to utilize the science labs in the Durham Science Center as part of a service-learning project sponsored by the Service-Learning Academy at UNO.

The students collected soil samples from different areas around their school, and delivered it to UNO's Introduction to Chemistry classes for soil analysis. The King Science students will learn about the process used to analyze the soil samples they collected earlier this semester from the school grounds.

While at UNO, they will also interact with undergraduate chemistry students who worked on the project and completed the chemical analysis. The undergraduate students will describe the techniques, processes and instrumentation used to for the presence of lead in the soil. The information that the King Science students learn about the soil around their school will be presented to other students at King Science who are working to implement a school garden on site. The knowledge of the lead content of the soil will be of considerable importance for the garden, and will assist King students in planning and garden design.

"The students are really excited to learn about the labs and procedures in the Durham Science Center," said Teresa Bender, a science teacher at King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School. "I think that one of the best parts of the day will be the interaction between the middle school students and the UNO undergraduates."

The King Science students will spend time in college labs and experience what it's like to work in the environment of a college student. A hands-on demonstration is also planned to help them understand the processes used in the soil analysis. In addition to learning about soil analysis and Durham Science Center, the King Science students will also receive a campus tour and eat lunch on campus in the Milo Bail Student Center.

“The chance for middle school students to experience what a college-level chemistry lab looks like and works on is an amazing opportunity,” said Dr. Dana Richter-Egger, director of the Math-Science Learning Center at UNO and a chemistry professor. “I hope that this experience will inspire them to consider careers in the sciences and continue to give back to their community.”

The project was created out of a training that was held on UNO’s campus during the summer of 2010. The Service Learning Seminar brought together K-12 educators, UNO professors and community non-profits to work to create service-learning projects. The Seminar is planned by the P-16 Initiative of the Service Learning Academy at UNO.

This initiative aims at connecting the P(re)K-12 and UNO curriculum through the development of collaborative academic service learning experiences.

The Service-Learning Academy at UNO and King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School work in partnership with Building Bright Futures in an effort to improve academic performance, raise graduation rates, increase civic and community responsibility and ensure all students are prepared for post-secondary education.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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