Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math, STEM subjects, can be a challenge for any teacher. Yet some of the teachers at local schools are getting a new tool to ignite their students' interest: the STEM mobile.
The STEM mobile is a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school children in 20 Tennessee counties. This mobile classroom brings much-needed technology to the doorsteps of schools, and the students have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them to learn about STEM topics in creative and hands-on ways.
The STEM mobile is the product of the Oakley STEM Center and Tennessee Tech University as part of the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a grant project funded by Tennessee's First to the Top program. UCRSI is part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, whose mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.
Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEM mobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. The trailer will be moved from site to site by Averitt Express, Inc., which is sponsoring a significant portion of the transportation costs for the 2013-2014 school year.