Lab in a Boxis a mobile science laboratory, built in a 20 foot shipping container. It comes fully equipped with both science “gear” and people – namely our awesome educator. If you’re lucky you might also get a personal visit from researchers, students or professors from around New Zealand (or indeed around the World).

To date Lab in a Box has the following onboard equipment for students and groups to use:

  • 2 stereo microscopes and 3 compound microscopes (one with projection capabilities), with thanks to the team at Olympus and Lab Supply NZ
  • A high-speed camera for filming in ultra-fast speeds (imagine seeing that bottle rocket in high def slow motion), with thanks to the team at Olympus.
  • A programmable telescope and an optical telescope (for looking at the sun)
  • PCR thermocycler, gel electrophoresis equipment, micropipettes and all the necessary extras, with thanks to Genetics Otago and Sigma NZ
  • Lab coats, glassware, general lab supplies (heater, balance, stirrer, mini centrifuge, timers, counters), with thanks to Sigma Aldrich and Hills Laboratories
  • pH, dissolved oxygen and salinity meter
  • Fully automated weather station (humidity, dew point, temperature, rain fall, barometer and wind meter)
  • A geological hammer, GPS unit, compass and walkie talkies
  • A mobile electron microscope (by prior arrangement only)
  • Rocket launchers, bottle rockets and other ways to blow stuff up
  • A full chemistry lab (sessions must be arranged in advance), with thanks to Dave Warren at the Univeristy of Otago
  • Participants also have access to equipment held by the University of Otago, Otago Museum and Orokonui Ecosanctuary, please contact us for details.

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Lab-in-a-Box is designed to be a resource to excite school students, communities and teachers about experimental science. We are aiming to work particularly with primary and intermediate age schools, but are also aiming to engage communities, and all students from ECE to tertiary. Participants can carry out science projects, e.g. a demonstration of rocket propulsion, an iwi investigating river health, a U3A meeting on astronomy or a primary school looking at microscopic pond life. All these, and more, are the aim of Lab-in-a-Box.

With Lab-in-a-Box we want to help everyone turn their hand to practical science, discover how science works and what scientists do. Using resources like the Science Learning Hub and the Science Media Centre we can showcase the diversity of science and scientists in New Zealand. We’ll be using their stories to inspire people and communities to give science a go.

Lab in a box is for rural communities that aren’t readily exposed to science or scientists, but who are custodians of our land and water. We can work with farmers, local businesses, students and teachers to show them how much fun it is to discover, detail, describe, develop and sometimes destroy things. Hands-on practical work can inspire people in a way that a theoretical explanation just can’t.

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