With generous support from the community, Seattle Children's launched the Science Adventure Lab in 2009, creating the first mobile science lab program directly linked to a children's hospital and the first mobile lab in the Pacific Northwest.
The Science Adventure Lab is a custom-built, 45-foot, state-of-the-art mobile science lab outfitted with research-grade equipment and space for up to 28 students at a time. The mobile lab travels to schools across Washington to provide innovative, hands-on science curriculum to students in grades 4 to 12.
The program especially focuses on providing schools with access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that would otherwise not be available.
Inspiring Students and Enhancing Learning
Washington has some of the most dedicated science and health teachers in the country. We work closely with classroom teachers to ensure Science Adventure Lab activities integrate with their existing curriculum and instruction and enrich students' experiences in science. A visit from the mobile lab enhances student learning through fun and rigorous inquiry-based activities based on real-world scenarios and taught by PhD-level scientists with years of experience in scientific fields as diverse as infectious disease and neuroscience.
The Science Adventure Lab is set up to replicate a working lab environment, giving students the chance to use sophisticated lab tools and professional-grade research equipment. Working in groups, students use equipment such as microscopes, micropipettes, vortex mixers and centrifuges. Students isolate DNA, use gel electrophoresis and perform biochemical assays using the same techniques as Children's scientists and physicians.
Each curriculum module is field-tested by experienced teachers and designed to support the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Washington, while helping to develop scientific and critical thinking skills needed for today's careers in healthcare and science. Each module builds on students' natural curiosity to pose questions, test hypotheses and explore problems, while spurring them to develop collaborative ideas and see the influence of science in their everyday lives.
The 21st century brought with it increased demands on science education. The shift from a focus on teaching scientific facts and knowledge to inquiry-based teaching of scientific processes and critical thinking skills reached new urgency. As entire industries sprung up to meet the demands of the global Internet economy, careers requiring highly specialized scientific and technical skills rose as well.
Within this environment, science teachers around the country sought new avenues and innovative approaches to improve student learning. In 1998, the first mobile education lab was started in Boston. Eventually, a group of these mobile science laboratories sponsored by universities, scientific organizations and government agencies, began working together as part of the Mobile Laboratory Coalition, to enhance and augment the classroom instruction by science teachers. By 2007, there were at least 12 mobile lab programs throughout nine states.
In 2008, the Science Adventure Lab joined the Mobile Lab Coalition, and with pioneering support from Seattle Children's and Purchase a Miracle, and a grant from the federal government, the mobile lab launched in 2009.
Working in partnership with teachers, schools and communities, we will deliver innovative educational experiences that inspire new passions for science, promote better health for all students, and enhance science education throughout Washington.
We will develop the next generation of scientists and promote child health by empowering students and advancing science education.
"Thank you so much for the wonderful lesson you gave today. My students were able to do activities that I can't do in my regular classroom. I am so excited about the window on the world you presented to them."