NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Students at Edgewood Magnet School in New Haven will conduct advanced bioscience experiments in their own classroom this week, launching Connecticut's BioConnection Program, a new educational outreach program from Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc. (CURE). The BioConnection Program is a laboratory equipment loan program designed to leverage the curriculum from CURE's highly successful educational outreach program, Connecticut's BioBus. The BioConnection Program is free of charge to schools and is structured to enrich the scientific curriculum at middle and high schools with advanced investigational exercises using research tools and techniques beyond the scope of most classrooms. "Edgewood Magnet School uses a Higher Order Thinking (HOT) initiative, where our goal is to teach our students using active inquiry and arts integration to support the district curriculum," said Keith Kaliszewski, Edgewood Magnet School's science teacher for grades 7 and 8. "Having the BioConnection classroom unit for two weeks delivers real world science exploration and allows me the flexibility to incorporate the experiments and instructional content over several class periods with all my students. With the BioConnection Program I can link the DNA and genetics topics we are studying with today's biotechnology research, a field that can provide rewarding employment opportunities for my students." Edgewood Magnet School will use the BioConnection classroom unit for two weeks, during which Mr. Kaliszewski expects to introduce two of the BioConnection experiment lessons to as many as 150 students. Once completed, the BioConnection unit will be replenished by CURE and loaned to another school. During this pilot year through December 2004, the BioConnection Program will be introduced to at least six schools within the five urban school districts in Connecticut: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Waterbury. At the conclusion of the pilot year CURE will seek contributions from its members to support the BioConnection Program on an ongoing basis. The pilot period is funded by an earmark grant under the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) from the United States Department of Education. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of New Haven assisted CURE in obtaining this grant. "The BioConnection Program is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience with their science curriculum," said DeLauro. "Science education is critically important to helping American students compete in the growing global marketplace. The BioConnection program will be integrated with the classroom for two weeks, allowing students time to delve into the work. I am proud to have been able to help CURE obtain funding for this forward-thinking program." Teachers at eligible BioConnection schools are trained in the experiment-based lesson of their choice, adapted from Connecticut's BioBus Program. The three experiment lessons introduce advanced biology and biochemistry concepts and techniques and are the three most popular experiments on board the BioBus. These experiments have been conducted by students over 14,000 times since the launch of the BioBus: The Art of Forgery experiment challenges students to identify a forged painting using gel electrophoresis, a technique to separate molecules based on size and charge; The Mystery of the Crooked Cell experiment explores genetic testing of disease by identifying blood samples with sickle cell anemia; and The Case of the Crown Jewels experiment uses DNA fingerprinting to solve a fictitious crime. "Connecticut's BioBus Program has been tremendously successful in delivering advanced bioscience instruction to schools across the state," said Paul R. Pescatello, President and CEO of CURE. "Over 17,000 students have conducted a BioBus experiment lesson and learned about careers in bioscience since the launch of the program in September 2001. However, there are thousands more Connecticut students who have not had the opportunity, and the BioConnection Program delivers the expanded learning experience to more students at more schools, independent from the BioBus." Connecticut's BioBus and BioConnection Programs seek to foster the excitement of scientific discovery among students and ignite interest in pursuing scientific careers. Connecticut's BioBus represents a five-year, $3.6 million partnership between 27 members of Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc. (CURE) and Connecticut Innovations (www.ctinnovations.com), one of the state's leading investors in high technology. Connecticut's BioConnection Program is a pilot laboratory equipment loan program delivering real-world research techniques, advanced investigational exercises and bioscience career information to middle and high school science classrooms across Connecticut. CURE (www.curenet.org) is a statewide coalition of over 100 educational and research institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and other supporting businesses. It is dedicated to promoting the growth and increasing public understanding of biomedical research and science in Connecticut.