HOUSTON – This week, for some Houston schoolchildren, class is in session on an 18-wheeler.
It's a science kit on wheels and it's rolling through Texas to spark interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.
The MdBio Foundation, based in Maryland, operates the 45-foot mobile laboratory called the MdBioLab.
It traveled 1,600 miles to Texas last week, stopping at middle schools and high schools in Port Aransas that just reopened.
What is the MdBio foundation?
The MdBio Foundation is a Maryland-based nonprofit organization focused on educating children in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, careers.
What is the MdBioLab?
The foundation describes the MdBioLab as "a self-contained, mobile classroom with teaching space and scientific equipment, as well as lab supplies, (that) allows students to perform science experiments from MdBio's biology and chemistry curriculum, including DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, acid/base titration and water filtration."
The lab normally operates in school districts in Maryland, but in September, the foundation launched the Learning Undefeated initiative to reach out to schools and students affected by Hurricane Harvey.
"Our team saw the news of Hurricane Harvey. We wanted to make a difference. We knew we had the resources to do that, so we started contacting schools here in the Gulf, and Houston is where we decided we wanted to make a difference," said CEO Brian Gaines.
Where is the MdBioLab this week?
Starting today, the lab will serve students at the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at James D. Ryan Middle School. The Houston Independent School District magnet program serves students from all over the city, many of whom were were significantly affected by Harvey. On Thursday, the lab will move to the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.
#Click2Daily Class is now in session @BCMAcademyHISD on this @MdBioFoundation mobile science lab, traveling thru TX visiting schools/students affected by #HurricaneHarvey. @KPRC2 #LearningUndefeated pic.twitter.com/EK6sHpUPvN
— Syan Rhodes (@SyanRhodes) November 13, 2017
What do students think of the lab?
"It's more fun because of the experiments. We haven't done an experiment yet in our classes. We got to actually use these tools we haven't used before," said seventh-grader Christopher Tyler, who wants to be a neurologist.
Where is the MdBioLab going next?
The MdBio Foundation would like to keep the mobile lab in the Houston area for the rest of the school year and is looking for sponsors to help. If you would like to contribute, click here.