Q & A

The mobile laboratories that are part of the Mobile Laboratory Coalition (MLC) are mobile education programs. We take science laboratories on the road to schools, businesses, events, and everything in between!

Typically a mobile laboratory is housed in a converted or custom-designed trailer, bus, or recreational vehicle (RV) that may easily transported from location to location. Mobile laboratories have their own physical facilities that often include laboratory benches, equipment, supplies, fume hoods, electricity, water and other specialized gear to facilitate an engaging, hands-on learning experience for all ages.  Mobile laboratories may serve a variety of functions including science education, science research, and even on-site environmental analysis and monitoring.

An informal alliance of science education mobile laboratories emerged in 2003 primarily because the programs had no one else but each other to guide their efforts in building and operating mobile laboratories.  The Mobile Laboratory Coalition (MLC) evolved as a result of the unique needs among people with a common vision of science education outreach aboard mobile laboratories.  The MLC expanded shortly after 2003 to a partnership of traveling laboratory and other dynamic education programs committed to providing equal access opportunities to science and technology education and workforce preparation for all populations.  The MLC became a member organization in 2010 and established non-profit status in 2011.

Many states and countries have mobile laboratory or equipment loan programs.  Visit our Member Directory to learn more about the programs that are members of the MLC.  We also maintain a list of other programs around the world.

  • Novice Teachers’ Attention to Student Thinking – 2009; Journal of Teacher Education, 60: 142 – Daniel M. Levin, David Hammer and Janet E. Coffey
  • Genomics Education in Practice:  Evaluation of a Mobile Lab Design – 2010; 38: 4 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education – Marc H.W. Van Mil, Arend Jan Waarlo, et. al.
  • Effects of a Science Education Module on Attitudes towards Modern Biotechnology of Secondary School Students – 2009; International Journal of Science Education, 32: 9, 1127-1150 – Tanja Klop, Geert TM Ten Dam, et. al.

The earliest mobile classroom may just be George Washington Carver’s “moveable school” built by students.  The Booker T. Washington Agricultural School on Wheels was named for the original horse-drawn vehicle’s funder, Morris K. Jesup.  The Jesup Wagon carried agricultural exhibits to county fairs and community gatherings and later expanded to include four wheels and an engine.  The program continued to grow and in the 1930’s included educational films and lectures in local churches and schools.  The photos are worth a look on the National Park Service’s website.