Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Mobile Lab?
Mobile laboratories are mobile education programs that take science on the road directly to schools, businesses, and events to facilitate engaging, hands-on science learning experience for all ages! Typically, these Mobile Science Programs (MSPs) are either: 1) self-contained, self-propelled laboratories, often housed in a converted or custom-designed trailer, bus, or recreational vehicle (RV) that is easily transported from location to location; or 2) a branded, traveling science program that requires the physical facilities of partnering institutions
What is the Mobile Lab Coalition?
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.
These programs are awesome! Is there a Mobile Science Program in my neck of the woods?
Many states and countries have mobile laboratories or other MSP's. Visit our Member Directory to learn more about the programs sponsored by MLC members. We also maintain a list of other programs around the world.
These programs are awesome but I can’t find one near me. How do I start one myself?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! First things first - sign up to join the Mobile Lab Coalition. By becoming a member, you are instantaneously connected to a large number of like-minded people who have a plethora of experience in this community.
What types of Mobile Science Programs currently exist?
There are a variety of MSP concepts currently in operation, each with their own mission and vision. While each program type possesses its own advantages and challenges, they all provide a unique experience for their audience. See examples of vehicles in our Getting Started page, and please check out the Member Directory for a complete list of Mobile Laboratories and MSP’s.
How does one financially support one of these programs?
If we had the magic answer to this one, you’d see many more of these programs on the road! But with some effort and dedication, you can surely secure the funding you need to get yourself started! No matter which direction you choose, don’t be afraid to start small. There is no need to try and “boil the ocean.” And don’t be afraid to ask other members of the MLC for guidance and assistance.
Some avenues for funding a mobile science program include:
- Foundation grants
- Corporate sponsorship/grants
- Individual donations
- Fees for services
- Individual donations
Need help deciding which program to choose?
Check out this flow diagram to help you decide which program is right for you and/or your audience!
How will Mobile Lab content benefit my instruction?
1.2 million kids and counting—Mobile science laboratories drive student interest in STEM
Genomics education in practice: Evaluation of a mobile lab design
Effects of a Science Education Module on Attitudes towards Modern Biotechnology of Secondary School Students
Who should I contact about starting a mobile lab or joining the MLC?
Reach out to one of the members of the MLC leadership team for more information.