Students need exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to succeed in our changing society. Yet not all schools have the resources for a dedicated, stand-alone STEM lab. Mobile STEM carts can bridge this gap.
An organized, on-the-go STEM cart is an effective tool for teaching and learning. These mobile STEM carts are exciting changes in routine that increase engagement. These labs also streamline the teaching process for instructors and specialists.
If you want to improve STEM programming at your school, let’s discuss practical tips for creating, optimizing, and storing a mobile STEM cart.
Creating An Efficient Layout
Customization is a major benefit of building a cart for STEM activities. Every mobile lab is built with a school’s unique needs in mind. Creating an efficient layout is an important part of the design process.
Plan For Accessibility
Arrange STEM materials and equipment so they’re easy to access. Lessons run more smoothly when you don’t need to dig through materials to find what you need.
- Organize items in the order they’ll be used.
- Consider workflow and traffic patterns to reduce congestion. If all students need to collect something from the cart, for example, make sure multiple hands can reach it at once.
Zone By Activity
Divide cart regions into zones for different activities like coding, group work, and experiments.
These zones should be easily accessible and function like traditional STEM classroom stations. Students should be able to find necessary resources within their station.
This organized structure helps learners focus and stay on task.
Smart Storage Solutions
Storage can make or break any learning environment. STEM carts are no different. Explore these student-friendly storage ideas to keep your cart organized.
Labeled Bins and Containers
Clear, labeled containers let everyone find supplies at a glance.
Transparent boxes and bins are the best solution for storing supplies, tools, and materials. Labels help older students know what should be in each box. Younger students and ELL and ESL students can easily see what’s inside before they can read the labels.
Consider grouping items by activity zone, so students can access everything they need. You can also store similar items together. For example, keep all scissors in one container, pipes in another, paint in another, etc.
Place color-coded labels on containers and items for quick identification.
Cables can get out of control whenever computers, tablets, and other technological devices are involved.
Use a mix of cable ties, clips, fasteners, and organizers to reduce this clutter.
You can maximize space and extend the life of your devices by keeping cords organized and tangle-free. Proper cable management also reduces tripping hazards to keep the mobile STEM lab safe.
Portable organizers also let students transport materials between workstations and learning environments.
Smaller containers like caddies and toolboxes are perfect for storing small tools and components. It’s easy to keep track of these small items when they have a dedicated home.
Keep the STEM cart tidy so it’s always ready to use. With a few simple routines, everyone can work together towards this goal.
Regular Clean-Up Routine
Make clean-up an expected part of every STEM cart visit. This routine lets students know what’s expected during every session.
Encourage all students to return materials to the proper storage containers. Clear, labeled bins make it easier to maintain an organized lab environment.
Engage students in keeping the STEM cart clean during and after instruction. Explain the benefits of an organized, tidy space.
Cleaning may not be everyone’s favorite task, but the rewards are worth it. This is a great opportunity for a group discussion about responsibility, ownership, and agency.
Flexibility For Changes
Responding to challenges is a classic engineering skill. Use the mobile STEM cart to foster this mindset.
Feedback and Iteration
Don’t just be open to feedback about the STEM cart. You should excitedly seek out feedback! Encourage comments from educators and students to help refine the lab’s layout, storage, and more.
Explain that you value student input because the STEM carts are continuously being restocked and refined.
The feedback cycle should center student experiences in the learning process. It’s also a chance for you to model the engineering design process for colleagues and students.
Explore STEM Carts with SAM Labs
SAM Labs offers resources you need to achieve higher student engagement, deeper content understanding, and optimized educator time. Our mobile STEM resources help you foster computational thinking, coding, engineering design, and other 21st-century skills.
And thanks to our lesson plans, you don’t need to be tech-minded to teach this content. We include everything you need for each lesson.
Schedule a demo with the SAM Labs team to learn more about our STEM cart resources. We can’t wait to discuss how our STEM and coding solutions fit your unique needs.
The Benefits of STEM Carts
Mobile STEM carts offer a range of benefits for students and educators.
- An organized STEM cart empowers students to engage in the material because they know what to expect.
- Educators can use their time more efficiently because organized carts are always ready for the next lesson.
Try these organization tips to create a functional, inviting mobile STEM lab your students will love.