Policy-makers in Nashville will get a chance to see STEM education up close today as the STEMmobile, a mobile STEM laboratory of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, is on exhibit at Nashville’s legislative plaza.
On a brief break from its tour of schools across 20 counties in rural Tennessee, the STEMmobile will be in Nashville for the first time since completion. Visitors can walk through this mobile STEM lab on wheels and experience the same high-tech and innovative STEM practices that the STEMmobile delivers to grade-school students across the rural Upper Cumberland region of the state.
Built and operated by the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, the STEMmobile was designed to bring much-needed technology to the doorsteps of rural schools in its partnering districts. Housed in a 53′ tractor-trailer with self-contained power, its own HVAC system, a satellite uplink for internet connectivity, and workstations for twenty-four students, this mobile classroom is stocked with equipment from Tennessee Tech University’s Oakley STEM Center and includes iPads, laptops, hand-held data collection devices, and other high-tech instructional equipment. When they step inside, students have immediate access to state-of-the-art equipment that is not always readily available in rural schools.
The STEMmobile itself is a model of the kind of broad partnership we see advancing STEM in each one of the STEMx member states. Through partnerships with businesses like Averitt Express, Inc. and universities like Tennessee Tech, the STEMmobile is able to travel throughout the Upper Cumberland region to reach rural students that otherwise might not have access to these high-tech STEM tools. It is these broad partnerships between education, government, and business that also help sustain the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, a STEMx network collaborator supported jointly by the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle.