explorer lab

An immersive STEM learning experience for grades 6-8


Learning Undefeated’s explorer lab offers a STEM learning experience unlike anything else your students have ever experienced. This custom-built motorcoach bus is a shared immersive learning experience that combines movie-quality video, special effects, and hands-on educational gaming to create a learning environment that gets kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – right in the school parking lot.

Upon boarding lab, students take a five-minute trip across the solar system, visiting each planet through a jaw-dropping 360-video experience before landing on Mars. After touching down on the Red Planet, students design their own rover on individual tablets and then complete a series of activities designed to help them think and act like an engineer. Throughout the experience, students make engineering tradeoffs between power and functionality, reinforcing concepts of engineering design.

Learning objectives

  • Engineering and design: Students experience the engineering and design process that factors in tradeoffs and consideration for environmental factors and constraints.
  • STEM careers: Students experience relevant and in-context STEM missions that ignite curiosity and interest in STEM careers.
  • Space and scientific practices: Students experience scientific practices (such as analyzing evidence, planning investigations, and collaborating) through the context of space-related content.

Bringing Engineering to Life

Learning Undefeated has released a new video resource for middle school teachers that highlights engineering fields and careers, designed to get students excited about the career opportunities in engineering. The five-minute video features five young engineers from a variety of backgrounds in their work environments across a range of engineering disciplines including mechanical, chemical, and environmental engineering.

Through a series of authentic career profiles, students are introduced to the aptitudes, attributes, and skills needed to be successful in an engineering career. Participating engineers include,

  • Darcy Chiriboga, Project Engineer, Pure Technologies
  • Travis Dennis, Chemical Engineer, WR Grace
  • Geocondra Idrovo, Network Engineer, Verizon
  • Justin Rice, Senior Development Operations Engineer, NASA Goddard Flight Center
  • Kathly Phlelan Weber, Power Tools Engineer, Stanley Black & Decker

The video is part of a three-part engineering curriculum for sixth grade, developed with the support of Verizon Innovative Learning.

Exploring Engineering: Rover Design Challenge

Learning Undefeated’s explorer lab is a unique program designed for students to experience being an engineer, combining hands-on classroom activities with a one-of-a-kind immersive experience aboard the explorer lab. The aim of the program is to introduce students to the Engineering Design Process as well as diverse careers in engineering.

The explorer lab curriculum integrates with many local, state and national science and engineering standards, including the Louisiana Student Standards for Science, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Explorer lab classes are designed to fit into a typical 45-minute class period and consists of three parts: a pre-lab activity in the classroom, the explorer lab visit, and a post-lab activity.

Part 1 | Rover Design Challenge: Design & Test

Introduces students to the engineering design process as they must work in groups to design, communicate, and test rovers before they travel to Mars. Using Legos, students must work together to build a rover that can travel the furthest distance using limited supplies and a budget.

Part 2 | explorer lab onboard experience

Transports students to Mars where they use their knowledge of the engineering design process to modify and improve rovers to find the missing Curiosity rover. Additionally, they collect possible evidence that Mars may have once harbored life.

Part 3 | Rover Design Challenge: Improve & Retest

Returns students to their groups to improve on their initial prototypes and test their new rovers. Using their previous results, students now must design their own experimental plan and create tables and data charts to construct their final rover design.

2020/21 School Year Status

Due to COVID-19, our explorer lab is not currently available for school visits.

Please check out our Anywhere Labs digital STEM learning resources for standards-aligned lesson bundles for grades 6-12, along with our video gallery, at-home science activities, and teacher resources.