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Mobile laboratory programs as vehicles to promote STEM education in K-12 and beyond

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4 Author(s)

Mobile laboratories refer to self-contained, traveling laboratories that accommodate student participation in hands-on laboratory science aboard the mobile laboratory unit. Most of the mobile laboratory programs that are now in operation focus on providing middle and high school students and teachers with access to science equipment and supplies that are difficult for them to acquire and maintain. In addition, many of the mobile laboratory programs provide inquiry-based curricular materials that are engaging, substantive, and thought provoking. Further, since mobile laboratories are completely self-sustained and can travel to urban and rural locations that are often educationally and economically disadvantaged, they provide equal access to state-of the art learning opportunities. The use of mobile laboratories is an innovative way to transform science teaching and learning, particularly in the pre-college setting. While many of the mobile laboratory programs now in operation focus on the biological sciences, we believe that these programs can be adapted to broader applications in STEM education. Mobile laboratories have the potential to offer powerful and unique ways to engage and inspire future scientists and engineers. These “vehicles” may pique the curiosity of students and motivate them to continue their study of science in high school and beyond. As such, mobile science laboratories may contribute to increasing the number of students who become science-literate citizens and members of the science workforce.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2011

Date of Conference:

12-15 Oct. 2011