November 10, 2019

Retired school bus serves as STEM lab on wheels

Buses can be quite useful long after their days of student pickups are over. For example, Coachella Valley Unified School District — which is the second poorest district in the country — in 2016 converted eight school buses into built-out mobile hotspots driven to the district’s poorest neighborhoods, allowing students to access WiFi within a 100-yard radius.

A repurposed special needs school bus in Maryland is giving K-5 students a chance to code, build robots, use 3D printers and even fly drones as the new Mobile Innovation Lab. The repainted bus is full of ed tech and STEM equipment and spends one week at each elementary school chosen through a lottery process before moving to the next one.

In addition to the STEM lab on wheels, the district also has a resource library with many of the same STEM tools that can be checked out and brought to schools. The program is designed to expose minorities to magnet school opportunities and interest girls in STEM.

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