So you want to start a Mobile Science Program? That's great news! But at this point you might be asking yourself "Where do I start"? Well one of the first things you have to consider is the type of program you want to initiate. The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, including available resources and the needs of your community. Check out the flow charts underneath to help you through this decision. Further below you'll also find some common program types within the MLC. Each style offers its own advantages and challenges – that's the fun part!
There are lots of things to consider when initiating a new Mobile Lab. Honestly, this could be the most difficult decision when creating the vision for your mobile science program. Hopefully the charts above will help you to narrow down your ideas. Because vehicle and program choice is determined by your specific needs and requirements, we unfortunately do not have the magic answer. But here are some things to consider: 1) What size vehicle do you want, 2) Do you want participants to come on board, 3) What is your general environment and location of your program(s), 4) Where will you be running your program and what is the size of the physical location (parking, etc), 5) Do you want a new or used vehicle... and the list goes on and on. Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to each program type. Read the information below to help you get started and for some examples of each program type. The MLC is here to help you think about, and ultimately determine, the style that best fits the program you'd like to establish.
Likely the most expensive type of program to establish and run; however, this style is also extremely fun and customizable. The vehicle traditionally parks outside of the school, allowing students to jump into an immersive science experience.
This program style is similar to the one above, but instead of being self-propelled, this self-contained trailer is pulled by another vehicle. Because of this, often times the trailers are a little less expensive at the onset; however, they also might be less customizable and require another vehicle to tow the lab itself .
If resources are tight, then you might consider starting with this style of program. The branded, in-school platform relies on the school's facilities to host the activities. These programs are extremely impactful for the students, though slightly less immersive.