Dyer County Schools is stepping up its STEM program with the incorporation of a new mobile lab unit. The STEAMROLLER [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math] will be making its debut to elementary schools in the Dyer County School system beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The bus’s first stop in the county system will be at Trimble Elementary School.
The STEAMROLLER is expected to provide roughly 1,500 county students in grades K-5 with an opportunity to learn fundamental engineering and science concepts and critical thinking skills while working in a team environment.
When approached with the concept of transforming a school bus into a mobile STEAM lab last spring, Curriculum Supervisor Angela Harrington says she readily began making preparations.
“Dr. Lusk had this idea last year that he been toying with, so we found a matching fund work-based learning grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development,” said Harrington. “We matched the grant by providing a decommissioned bus that was going to be sold at auction.”
The lab was first created by stripping down the interior of an out-of-service school bus; a task performed by the Dyer County Schools Transportation Department. For months, mechanics on staff overhauled the bus, adding a new floor, paint, strip lighting, LED lighting, wheel wells, bolted-down workbenches, and a heat and air unit. Added to the front and back of the bus were stabilizing jacks to prevent any rocking caused as the students move around.