This Decatur bus makes learning science, technology and engineering mobile

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Building materials encourage creativity and problem solving. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

All aboard the STEAM engine–a completely renovated school bus that has been transformed into a mobile STEAM lab.

It takes science curriculum on the go to 13 elementary schools across the Decatur City School district.

It has amazing learning tools for students

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The Decatur City Schools “STEAM Engine.” STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

Completely wrapped in galaxy vinyl, the STEAM Engine carries unique equipment to encourage a love of science among students. Items on the bus include:

  • A Lego wall shaped like a robot
  • View-master stereoscopes
  • A 3-D printer
  • Interactive iPads to teach coding skills
  • Globes and building materials

Where did the STEAM Engine come from?

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View-masters have been one of the students’ favorite activities on the STEAM engine. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

Faith Plunkett, who oversees elementary instructional technology at Decatur City Schools, pitched the idea for a mobile science lab after seeing one in Florida.

“We wanted to create an innovative environment for kids with the new digital literacy standards that we have.”

Faith Plunkett, Decatur City Schools

The project took almost two years to complete and used a retired bus from the school district. Boeing and 3M helped fund the project.

Students and parents love it

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iPads programs help students with coding projects. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

The STEAM Engine became operational in June so most students will have a chance to see it for the first time this school year. So far, Plunkett says parents and students love it.

“Every single person has said ‘I wish I had this when I was in school.’ Or, ‘This is such a cool experience. I’m so glad my kids have this.’”

Faith Plunkett, Decatur City Schools

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Audrey Johnson
Audrey Johnson
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