Triune Builds the Country’s Largest & Most Advanced Mobile STEM Lab
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Crime scene investigation, DNA extraction, alternative fuels and bioengineering are just a few of the classes and lab activities available in the Mobile eXploration Lab (MXLab), the country’s largest and most advanced mobile STEM education laboratory.
“Triune’s years of experience manufacturing high-end trailers helped us create an impressive, flexible vehicle that accommodates more students, provides a space for events, and capabilities to expand our curriculum,” said Brian Gaines, CEO of the MdBio Foundation.
Triune Specialty Trailers worked closely with Maryland non-profit MdBio Foundation to create the MXLab. In the 2017/18 school year alone, ten thousand students at 35 schools will be exposed to exciting science projects and will have the opportunity to explore a career in STEM.
The lab provides a hands-on learning environment that engages students in STEM activities not available in schools. The curriculum consists of bioscience, chemistry, data set modeling, cybersecurity and game-based learning. “What we’re able to bring in this environment is not something you can put online, kids won’t be able to do this through social media,” said Triune President, Harry Kurtz. “It’s hands-on, experiential learning.”
At nearly 1,000 s.f. and 53’ long, the double expandable trailer can fit up to 42 students and is outfitted with advanced technology. The lab features six interactive flat-screen monitors, laboratory amenities like electricity and water and over one mile of Cat 5 cabling for computers and internet. The trailer also features eye-catching graphic wraps.
“The exterior wrap is truly breathtaking and attracts a lot of attention going down the road. The walls inside add a lot of color pop and the students love looking at the photo collage and realizing that our instructors are a part of the image,” said Janee Pelletier, VP of Communications & Events for MdBio. “The new lab facility is deftly able to handle our curriculum, which offers problem-based activities ranging from basic biology and chemistry to AP biology and environmental science. The lab’s camera functionality is useful for students to see what the instructor is doing directly at their workshop table on the attached TV.”
Pelletier also reports that MdBio is developing a new technology-based activity that focuses on the engineering design process and collecting data through smart wearable sensors. “The technology onboard the MXLab will help students make connections and observe how everyday devices communicate, collect data, and ultimately work. Students will work in groups to collect data that will be displayed on the computers aboard the lab and sent directly to their classroom.”
MdBio’s previous mobile lab reached about 150,000 kids over the course of 15 years with registrations filling up with in 10 to 15 minutes for the entire school year. “Teachers are already asking us when they can book the new lab. The word-of-mouth has been fantastic…we have a lot of visitors coming on board and saying that they’ve heard about the MXLab from other teachers,” said Pelletier.
The MdBio Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1991 and began producing educational programs aimed at students to raise awareness for science careers in 1997. In 2003, MdBio launched their first mobile outreach program that has served more than 150,000 students. In July 2016, Triune Specialty Trailers won a nationwide bid solicitation to build their new MXLab.
Mobile educational trailers are versatile and are a cost-effective way to reach a large group of students without the expense of a brick and mortar facility. Triune has the expertise and the capabilities to build a mobile classroom that fits any need. We look forward to seeing more of what the MdBio Foundation Inc.’s MXLab has to bring to students and visitors!