ABILENE – Last week at Ortiz Elementary School, some future engineers got an up-close glimpse at the profession as the Texas Mobile STEM Lac truck made a stop in Abilene.
Each region in the state gets a visit and thanks to the efforts of Suzanne Kehret – the Abilene ISD’s K-12 Science Curriculum Coordinator who applied for the truck to visit Abilene – Ortiz was selected as the one campus in Region 14 to receive a visit from the truck.
In partnership with Learning Undefeated, the Texas Education Agency introduced the Texas Mobile STEM Laboratory program for the 2021-22 school year. The mobile lab provides engaging, hands-on educational experiences for students and teachers using a custom-outfitted STEM learning space.
The Texas Mobile STEM Labs are custom outfitted STEM learning spaces built from modified shipping containers. The mobile labs offer a blend of career and skills education, providing flexible in-classroom resources that empower teachers with new skills and content ideas while serving multiple classes simultaneously with engaging, hands-on experiences.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to have this experience and to be able to be in this environment,” said Kehret. “I’m so proud of what they’ve done and how they’ve done. The engagement we’ve seen is incredible.”
Desurae Matthews, who is the Education Program Lead on the truck, said the goal of the STEM truck is to not only get students hooked on those programs, but for them to see there are career opportunities for everyone involved.
“We want everyone – whether they know right now or not – to know that a career in a STEM field is a great career,” Matthews said. “The most fun we have is when the light bulb goes on and they realize they can not only do this, but they enjoy it and realize they can do this and make wonderful things happen.”
Thursday morning, a group of fifth-grade students were tasked with completing a project to create an electrical current that would make an experimental cup make sound, vibrate and light up. Each of the five groups in the truck were able to finish the project, a first in a while on the truck.
“The staff on the mobile lab was very knowledgeable and did a great job of showing the students what it takes to be an engineer,” AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young said. “They’ve done a great job of letting the students now that anyone can be an engineer. You have to work very hard at it, but it can be done.”