UPPER CUMBERLAND – A mobile STEM lab built and operated in the Upper Cumberland made a stop this week in the state capital.
Policy-makers and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educators in Nashville had a chance to see STEM education up close Tuesday as the STEMmobile, a mobile STEM laboratory of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, was on exhibit in Legislative Plaza.
On a brief break from its tour of schools across 20 counties in rural Tennessee, the STEMmobile was in Nashville for the first time since its completion. Visitors were able to walk through the mobile lab and experience the same high-tech and innovative STEM practices that the STEMmobile delivers to grade school students across the rural Upper Cumberland region.
Built and operated by the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, the STEMmobile was designed to bring technology to the doorsteps of rural schools in its partnering districts. Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, its own HVAC system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity, and workstations for 24 students, the mobile classroom is stocked with equipment from Tennessee Tech University’s Oakley STEM Center and include iPads, laptops, hand-held data collection devices, and other innovative STEM instructional materials. When they step inside, students have immediate access to state-of-the-art equipment that enables them to study STEM learning objectives set by teachers.
As STEM education continues to play an increasingly critical role in Tennessee’s ability to attract future high-tech industries, the STEMmobile open house on Legislative Plaza was an opportunity for legislators and citizens alike to see STEM in action and witness first-hand some of the ways STEM education is advancing in Tennessee.
The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is a public-private collaborative between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Memorial Institute, emphasizing a “kindergarten through jobs” philosophy by promoting the teaching and learning of STEM education and integrating real-world and hands-on learning in K-12 public schools across Tennessee.