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Initiative: Building a mobile STEAM lab
Where: Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland
All of the other districts I spoke with that had a mobile lab of their own had utilized contractors or outside entities to complete the work required to transform the bus. I figured, “If our students are able to build a house, surely they can complete the interior work required to revamp a bus.” I viewed this as an awesome opportunity to merge the two thoughts. A mobile lab and student involvement, while at the same time, address one of PGCPS’ goals and an overarching goal throughout the United States. Specifically, the goal of providing learning opportunities encompassing science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics in a fun, yet challenging, thought-provoking way.
Croom Vocational High School was the school selected. Under the guidance of their teachers, students enrolled in the carpentry and electrical courses completed the flooring and cabinetry work, and installed counter tops. Currently, the students and teacher in the electrical class are preparing to start the electrical work.
In regard to the exterior of the bus, last school year we hosted a “Cover The Bus” contest for students enrolled in the Graphic Arts program. Drawings were submitted and the student who submitted the winning drawing received a Chromebook, donated by one of our vendor sponsors.
We have ordered supplies, tools, and equipment ready to serve students at all levels, K-12. As soon as the electrical work is completed, the bus will be driven to the shop to be wrapped, showcasing the student drawing. We are expecting to have the STEAM Lab roadshow ready immediately after spring break. I can’t wait!
I want to thank and share our great appreciation for the vendor support received [from Hartford Computing Group, Inc. (HCGI)] who donated Home Depot cards to assist with purchasing the wood and laminate materials and [Lenovo donated] computing devices toward achieving this endeavor.
Lisa Spencer is the Director of Instructional Technology & Support for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.
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