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Klein ISD Unveils Mobile Classroom

The high-tech trailer will travel to schools throughout the district.

Cindy Doyle
Cindy Doyle Photo: Klein ISD Spokeswoman Cindy Doyle presents the new STEAM Express to faculty, staff and students.

Bailey DePhilippis
First-grader Bailey DePhilippis completes a learns about nutrition on a touchscreen computer aboard the STEAM Express.

 

First grader Bailey DePhilippis is in the classroom learning about health and nutrition.

“Well, this is fruits, grains, dairy, vegetables and protein,” she said. “These are all the healthy stuff.”

But this is no ordinary lesson. DePhillippis is one of the first students onboard the STEAM Express, a custom-built mobile classroom designed by Klein Independent School District. The 48-foot-long trailer can fit about 15 kids at a time. Inside are several learning stations equipped with touchscreen computers, TVs and even some robots. They’re designed to give students hands-on lessons on subjects from architecture to astronomy.

Most people are familiar with STEM education, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. This trailer gets its name from STEAM education, a program which incorporates art into the curriculum alongside those other subjects. Cindy Doyle is with Klein ISD. She says the STEAM approach can help students make innovative connections.

“If we show our students career opportunities in a fun way of learning in an opportunity that they don’t currently have in their state-mandated curriculum, it just opens their eyes,” Doyle said.

It took district officials two years to design and construct the trailer. The project cost about $350,000 to complete, but much of the technology was donated by businesses. The STEAM Express is transported by a tractor trailer. It will soon begin traveling to schools throughout Klein ISD. Doyle says the mobile design will maximize the use of technology without the district having to buy equipment for each school. She says the lessons programmed into the learning stations can be adjusted to suit any K-12 grade level.

“It just does so much to enhance the learning capabilities of our students, so it was just natural that we went with the STEAM Express,” Doyle said.

Amy Austin teaches first grade at Theiss Elementary in Klein ISD. As she explored the STEAM Express, she said she couldn’t wait to use the hands-on learning tools with her students.

“You kind of need all these different elements whenever you enter a career no matter what it is, so I think it’s going to be great for them to see that,” Austin said. 

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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