Welcome to the Science Express!
The Science Express was launched in the fall of 2009 to bring hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to pK-12 students at schools throughout central Minnesota. In it's first four years, the 53 foot long mobile laboratory has served over 60,000 students at more than 1200 schools providing hands-on, inquiry-based activities to inspire Minnesota's next generation.
The Science Express visits approximately 30 schools per year and typically spends one week at each campus (grades pK-12) before moving on to the next school. The mobile unit operates according to a schedule developed in collaboration with participating schools and will build on best practices of other states’ programs – some with more than 15 years of history. During the summer months, we host professional development workshops for teachers to introduce them to the capabilities and activities available on the Science Express.
The Science Express meets a critical need: A profound gap has developed between the tools professional scientists use and what is available in the classroom. This issue is severe in the sixty-two percent of MN schools that have fewer than 100 students in their graduating class. Budget and critical mass issues represent a significant challenge to providing the necessary infrastructure for STEM training. By investing heavily in equipment that can be shared among thousands of students each year, The Science Express bridges this gap in a manner that is both inspirational and cost-effective.
The Science Express is a 53-foot long laboratory on wheels, including meeting space and fully integrated audio/visual system.
To engage and excite students about science through hands on activities with research level equipment and facilities.
Goals and Outcomes
- To provide elementary, middle and high school educators across the state with current information, teaching techniques and hands-on experience in biotechnology through relevant, hands-on, inquiry-based experiments that are also fun.
- To generate interest in and excitement for bioscience in elementary, middle and high school students, encouraging them to choose bioscience careers that meet the critical need for qualified employees.
- To generate public understanding, enthusiasm, and support for bioscience.
- To develop a Strategic Alliance for Bioscience Research and Education that leverages Minnesota’s Bioscience community, and Minnesota State’s capacity to support statewide bioscience outreach to invite, engage, and inspire Minnesota’s future.
To succeed, the truck-based and workshop curriculum must meet two critical criteria:
- Conform to Minnesota’s education standards.
- Engage and excite the teachers with bioscience activities they want and need to learn in the context of standards.