LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – In an effort to expose as many students as possible to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) the St. Vrain Valley Schools district introduced the “Future-Ready Innovation Lab.” The bus, filled with the latest technologies, takes STEM resources from school to school, throughout the district.
“The mobile lab is definitely an experience,” said Andrew Deba, a freshman at Mead High School.
In partnership with companies and non-profit organizations, St. Vrain Valley Schools was able to purchase the bus and fill it with STEM related technologies like virtual reality and drone software.
“It is a lot more exciting than it sounds,” said Kirsten Davis, a freshman at Mead High School. “[The lab] kind of has a way to explain everything, and it is really exciting to learn about that.”
Teachers from around the district are given the chance to request a visit from the lab. The lab can then be altered inside to tailor to the teaching lessons from each teacher and age group.
“[The lab] gives you something that you can’t get from just reading books and watching something. You get something from actually being in the experience, rather than just seeing the experience,” Deba told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Colin Rickman, the district’s Mobile Lab Coordinator, said the best part of working every day in the innovation lab is seeing kids who didn’t previously have interest in STEM leave with a new passion.
“Seeing a kid light up and figure something out, be engaged and inspired, is the best part of teaching,” Rickman said.
For many companies and non-profits, the Innovation Lab was a way to help fund the future leaders and innovators of Colorado.
“It’s really neat to see these tools come to use in the education process,” said Jason Oates, Director of External Affairs at Crestone Peak Resources. “[If students] come out interested in those areas, we are going to benefit as a company and as a society.”
The district covers 411 square miles and more than 30,000 students.
“[The Innovation Lab] creates a really cool environment for us to learn in both a hands-on and informational way,” Deba said.