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STEM In Motion On The Way

The Killeen Independent School District is preparing to deploy an impressive piece of rolling hardware to deliver a wide range of science, technology, engineering and math instruction to elementary students.
There is nothing understated about the 38-foot-long customized vehicle, equipped with modern, flexible furniture, 60-inch smart television, 30 laptops and iPads and a wide range of science and technology supplies.
Killeen ISD received in 2018 a five-year $1 million “STEM in Motion” Department of Defense Education Activity grant to help acquire, outfit and staff the vehicle.
Ohio-based Farber Specialty Vehicles is constructing the mobile lab and expects to make delivery to Central Texas about August 22 in time for the start of the upcoming school year. The first day of school is August 26.
The federal grant targets STEM education for third- through fifth-graders at 26 targeted campuses that meet the grant qualification of 15 percent or greater military-connected students.
The mobile lab effectively expands the school district’s STEM offerings into the elementary schools, KISD STEM Director Cynthia Hodges pointed out.
After focusing its high school STEM concentration at Shoemaker High School since it opened in 2000, the district partnered with Central Texas College to offer STEM academy courses at all four comprehensive high schools.
The district is entering its second year of that partnership with about 1,050 high school students splitting time between their home campus or the Career Center and CTC depending on their area of STEM focus.
Killeen ISD opened its first middle school STEM academy at Roy J. Smith Middle School two years ago and plans to open a second middle school STEM academy in its next middle school, set to open in 2020 on Warriors Path.

The mobile learning lab, which includes a full-time teacher and a driver/assistant, will impact approximately 8,730 students and utilize the current middle school STEM curriculum, she said.
It will also be an extremely cool, eye-catching sight rolling from school to school beginning this fall.
An artist’s visualization of the mobile lab reveals an RV-style vehicle with blue and purple designs and the wording “STEM In Motion” and “Every Student: Future Ready!”
In addition to visiting each of the 26 elementary schools that are part of the grant every nine weeks, the lab will be available at numerous district events and at special campus activities for student exploration.
“It’s exciting that elementary students will have the opportunity to experience STEM fields earlier,” Hodges said. “We know the earlier we pique their interest, the more inclined they will be to explore in high school and beyond.”

Images courtesy of Farber Specialty Vehicles