By: Emily Burleigh, American Press | Read it >
This week, Molo Middle School students have had the opportunity to collaborate and learn in the Learning Undefeated Mobile STEM Lab. The lab, dubbed the Breakout Box, is a new inquiry and game-based laboratory experience created by Learning Undefeated. It creates a hands-on learning experience in the form of an escape room where students work on multiple puzzles occurring simultaneously. Tori Bishop, education program manager for Learning Undefeated, said that this particular escape room had a sci-fi element. The students had to solve puzzles to uncover diabetic research that was left behind by missing scientists.
The collaborative nature of the Breakout Box makes it stand out from other programming offered by Learning Undefeated, she said. “As they work through the puzzles, we encourage teamwork and collaboration.” The programming aligns with Louisiana’s science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum.
The aim of Learning Undefeated, an education non-profit based in Maryland, is to even the playing field by driving race and gender equality in STEM through “experimental and deep-impact learning experiences for students from under-resourced communities.” The lab also visited Oak Park Middle School last week. The Learning Undefeated Breakout Box was able to visit these two schools thanks to a $20,000 grant provided by Phillips 66. For Phillips 66, there is a focus on bolstering STEM education in underserved communities.
Megan Hartman, Phillips 66 Gulf Coast field communication director, said that this year it is Phillips 66’s mission to provide supplemental STEM education to girls, people of color and middle school students. The partnership with Learning Undefeated was a perfect match to achieve this goal. She said that every opportunity to provide students with additional learning opportunities is vital to keep students engaged. “I think anytime we can supplement what they’re learning in the classroom, with a hands-on demonstration, something that’s fun and geared towards their age level, that’s always good.” These efforts will enhance the future workforce, she said. “Education equity is a core value of Phillips 66 since it’s a key to economic opportunity. We are always looking for innovative ways to engage students in STEM. If we can get middle schoolers excited about problem solving and math, the sky is the limit for them regarding high-paying, high-demand careers within the industry in Southwest Louisiana.”