In 1991, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) pioneered an innovative, science education outreach program that has been disseminated across the country. CityLab is a biotechnology learning laboratory at BUSM serving students and teachers in grants 7–12.
CityLab’s mission is to provide access to state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory facilities and curriculum, unavailable to most school systems. Teachers from Massachusetts and neighboring states bring their students to CityLab where they solve problems by applying the same techniques and concepts of genetics and molecular biology used in research laboratories today.
CityLab has been involved in multiple research opportunities, contributing to PK–12 science education.
Since 1992, more than 100,000 students have participated in hands-on, discovery oriented investigations at CityLab and aboard the CityLab MobileLab. CityLab offers six activities for students to participate in. Each investigation is defined in a mystery context and consists of a pre-lab activity, laboratory investigation and post-lab activity. The inquiry- based curricula was developed to provide students with a reason to apply the technology. Therefore, the laboratory techniques become problem solving tools rather than an end in themselves.
The CityLab core activities are aligned with many of the National Science Education Standards and the Massachusetts Science/Technology Frameworks.
A typical day at CityLab requires the students to arrive at 9:00 a.m. and depart at 1:00 p.m. The times will vary depending on the module and travel time. Students must bring their own lunch as services are not available.
Franzblau, F., DeRosa, D.A. and Phillips, C. (January 2001). Science on Wheels. The Science Teacher 76:1 January 2001
DeRosa, D.A. and Phillips C. (April 1999). BU’s Biosciences Education Program for Boston-area Students. Academic Medicine 74:4/April 1999
DeRosa, D.A. and Wolfe, B.L. (February 1999). Mystery of the Crooked Cell: an investigation and laboratory activity about sickle cell anemia. The American Biology Teacher. 61:2
Krauss, R.D., DeRosa, D.A., Phillips C. (March 1997). CityLab: Boston University’s Answer to Scientific Literacy. The BioTimes. 3:24
DeRosa, D.A. and Krauss, R.D (October 1997). Scientist/Educator Partnerships Provide Rich Learning Opportunities. The Scientist. 11:9.