To learn to play music, you need to practice using the right instruments. The same is true for science. That’s why the Science Adventure Lab is designed as a physical extension of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. We bring a fully equipped research lab and the expertise of Seattle Children’s scientists directly to Washington schools that might not have ready access to such resources.
State-of-the-Art Technical Features
The Science Adventure Lab was custom-designed with some of the most advanced technical features available for mobile vehicles, including:
- Fully integrated audio/visual system that includes a VCR/DVD player, digital video camera, and four 26” interior LCD monitors
- Student and instructor laptop computers connected to a printer, multipurpose fax/scan/print device and a wireless Internet network through a 54G wireless access point
- Ability to create an interactive teaching or demonstration space using a built-in external 40” LCD screen and speakers
Other Science Adventure Lab specifications:
- Designed to optimally accommodate class sizes of up to 28 students
- Four slide-out extension rooms that increase the useable interior floor space
- Total gross vehicle weight: 38,000 pounds
- Length: 45’ long
- Width: 8’5” wide
- Height: 14’ tall
Minimizing Environmental Impact
- High-efficiency diesel engine: Propulsion power is provided by a Cummins 8.9L, 425 horsepower, high-efficiency diesel engine that utilizes advanced electronic controls to optimize the engine’s operation and performance, in addition to being “biodiesel capable.”
- High-efficiency diesel generator: Supplementary power is provided by a 25 kW liquid-cooled diesel generator mounted under the vehicle deck in a stainless steel compartment insulated with high-density sound absorbing foam. The generator can power mobile lab functions while stationed at schools so that the engine does not need to run.
- “Shore power” capacity: Minimizes the need to use the vehicle engine or generator by allowing the ability to plug the mobile lab into a school’s power.
- Sustainable materials: Installed throughout the interior where possible.
We want to reach as many students as possible in all corners of Washington. So we’ve designed our scheduling process to make the most efficient use of the mobile lab by combining visits to minimize travel – and the impact on the environment. For example, we schedule blocks of visits to schools in Eastern Washington so the mobile lab crosses the mountain passes a minimum number of times. And we are continually seeking new ways to lessen any adverse environmental effects of the vehicle by using Children’s Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) principles.
The Science Adventure Lab team uses a 2012 Ford Escape to travel when it isn’t practical or necessary to drive our 45-foot vehicle to a location, and it helps us work toward our goal of minimizing environmental impact. Instructors use the Escape for pre- and post-visits to schools, travel to educational events and trips to resupply the Adventure Lab.