There’s a new force in education — and it’s ready to take the country by storm! Meet “S.T.E.A.M Mobile,” a learning experience on wheels that even sports its own classroom 3D printer.
What is S.T.E.A.M Mobile?
A project launched by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF), S.T.E.A.M Mobile is on a mission to “reach and inspire students through an interactive, fun and appealing curriculum.” S.T.E.A.M Mobile is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Agriculture and Mathematics, or S.T.E.A.M, learning environment on wheels.
S.T.E.A.M Mobile houses an actual classroom in a massive Airstream trailer. Stocked with laptops, toolkits, and supplies, S.T.E.A.M Mobile is of course outfitted with its own mobile classroom 3D printer, the AXIOM. While the original S.T.E.A.M. Mobile trailers fit eight students, NCRF is currently developing even larger trailers that can fit up to 18 students at a time.
Why was S.T.E.A.M. Mobile created?
Because it can go just about anywhere, S.T.E.A.M Mobile is ideal for bringing S.T.E.A.M. learning to kids who might not otherwise have easy access to a classroom 3D printer or this type of education. According to NCRF, there are currently four million S.T.E.A.M. jobs available in the United States, but we do not have a workforce that is educated or trained to fill those jobs. On top of that, there are even fewer minorities and women that are actively working in S.T.E.A.M. fields.
To add to the problem, the NCRF explained, the United States used to to be the top-ranking country in the world for education and we have now dropped to 14th place.
S.T.E.A.M Mobile seeks to fix this deficit by bringing S.T.E.A.M. education into low-income communities that are not equipped with the resources to educate and empower kids. By using cutting-edge technology, like a classroom 3D printer, S.T.E.A.M. Mobile hopes to engage students and get them excited about the S.T.E.A.M. subjects that are so crucial to a 21st Century economy.
Putting a mobile classroom 3D printer to good use
So what are these students making on their mobile classroom 3D printer? S.T.E.A.M. Mobile designs lessons that are challenging, but fun and engaging. For example, in their Pilot Airstream S.T.E.A.M. program, NCRF took 38 students from Fremont High School in Pomona, CA through a week-long curriculum using S.T.E.A.M. concepts to design and assemble a 3D-printed LED clip-on light.
How Kids Can Attend a S.T.E.A.M. Mobile Summer Camp
If you are near California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo,CA, S.T.E.A.M. Mobile will be holding two summer camps for 7th and 8th graders. The five-day camp will be filled with fun projects that include Robotics, Rocketry and, of course, 3D printing.
The camp costs $100 and will be held on July 10-14, 2017 and again on July 24-28, 2017.
Each day of the camp lasts from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All materials and snacks will be provided, but students must bring their own brown bag lunch.
Visit NCRF’s website to download the registration form. But if you’re interested, you better hurry! The registration deadline is July 3, 2017 and space is extremely limited with only eight students per class.
Support S.T.E.A.M. Mobile’s Mission
If you want to support S.T.E.A.M. Mobile’s incredible mission of spreading S.T.E.A.M. education throughout the U.S., they would love to hear from you! Become a sponsor, learn other ways to help, or find out how to bring S.T.E.A.M. Mobile to your community by contacting the National College Resources Foundation.
Interested in learning more about how 3D printers in education help ignite students’ passion in STEM subjects? Discover the OcMaker Challenge and how it has set the bar high for STEM learning through student 3D printing competitions.