Science, Engineering, Technology & Math | News
Mobile Learning Center Promotes STEM, Energy Awareness
- By Mike Hohenbrink
The Army National Guard’s Mobile Learning Center (MLC) Program is coming to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. The interactive program is designed to raise math and science literacy and tours throughout the country.
Part of Educate to Innovate, launched by President Barack Obama, the MLC program focuses on technology while exploring energy efficiency and alternative energy sources using interactive math and science experiences. The Educate to Innovate campaign is designed to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The goal of the visit to the Carnegie Science Center is to increase interest in math and science, particularly with an eye toward getting young people to consider career opportunities in these fields.
"The National Guard Mobile Learning Center Program provides students and educators with a cutting edge tool for learning and teaching," said Colonel Rich Baldwin, division chief of the National Guard Bureau--education, incentives, and employment division. "As a community organization, the National Guard seeks to optimize its presence by serving communities like Pittsburgh. We are committed to preparing our youth for the challenges of an increasingly competitive global workforce. Through the Mobile Learning Center Program, young adults will gain educational opportunities and experiences directly related to emerging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career fields so they are better equipped for future success."
The MLC program features a mobile energy lab, which is a 65-foot-long rapid deployment vehicle. The vehicle transforms into an interactive, remote classroom and houses its own 24-seat theater.
Outside, a 27-foot-square tent contains four interactive exhibits on earth, water, wind, and fire. In the earth exhibit, students play an interactive game in which they extract oil, gas and coal from the Earth in an effort to produce an electrical output with the process growing more difficult as you advance into the future. In the water exhibit, players use a balance board to rock back and forth to produce waves that will increase electrical output. In the role of a farmer, players must choose the most favorable conditions for wind turbines with an eye toward maximizing power production in the wind exhibit. Players interact with simulated solar panels to generate power in the solar exhibit.
The program also features a physical model of a city, energytown, that showcases energy resources of today and those that may be in use in the year 2050.
In addition to its physical presence at the Carnegie Science Center and other sites across the country, the MLC program's virtual presence is also a key part of its mission. Program information is available at facebook.com. STEM-related education resources, including teacher’s guides, post-visit assessment worksheets, and additional information on math, science, energy, and the environment are available for download at nationalguard.com.
Science center hours are 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 through Friday, Aug. 26 at 1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.