The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s new Mission Control mobile classroom will dramatically increase the Museum’s STEM outreach and programming.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum has provided STEM-focused youth educational programming in the local community for several decades, and education remains a top priority for the Museum. Now, the Museum is in the process of launching a new program – titled Storybook Engineering! – allowing its education team to travel to parts of the community where the need for educational programming is needed most.
To support Storybook Engineering! and all of its other extensive educational programming, the Museum is restoring a STEM education bus – appropriately titled “Mission Control” – designed to bring programming to additional schools, childcare centers, Boys & Girls clubs, and summer camps to increase its geographical outreach, quality and quantity of equipment used, and most importantly, the number of children served.
The bus serves as a mobile classroom traveling to remote and underserved populations, bringing STEM education to where local youth live and learn. Museum educators provide instruction using advanced technology, supplies, and learning processes to engage children’s imagination. At the conclusion of each program, students take home a new storybook and supplies for simple activities to extend learning at home.
The Museum’s current classroom at its location in Balboa Park accommodates 30 students as well as storage for educational materials and equipment. Unfortunately, the space does not provide a way to engage populations who are unable to visit the Museum due to distance or resources. The Mission Control mobile classroom will allow the Museum to inspire the next generation of learners to be innovative critical thinkers, problem solvers, and focused on careers in STEM related fields.
The hands-on portions of the Museum’s education programs include building and art projects, which connect back to the meaning of the stories the students read, using materials such as blocks and arts and crafts supplies. As children engage their imagination, they learn to solve problems and develop critical thinking skills, use references from the story, and collaborate with their peers and caregivers.
The Mission Control mobile classroom will allow the San Diego Air & Space Museum to continue its mission to provide underserved and underfunded San Diego area children access to youth development programs that prompt academic and future career-workforce readiness success in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.