Mobile STEM museum unveiled at 3M's Innovation Center

Trailblazer II, a mobile museum for weather, aerodynamics, biotechnology, energy and space, was unveiled at 3M's Innovation Center for students at Four Points Middle School on June 6.

The trailer is the creation of 3M and the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. It focuses on interactive exhibits for students third through eighth grade. TAME is a nonprofit organization that provides science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, programs for K–12 students.

Trained docents from sponsoring organizations such as 3M guide students through each exhibit and teach them about solar radiation, relative gravity, global warming, weather analysis and more. The docents also speak to students about STEM programs offered at Texas' colleges. The interactive trailers were designed to keep students engaged in STEM through hands-on activities and interacting with role models, TAME Executive Director Savita Raj said.

She said the trailer is just the beginning of TAME's efforts to get students interested in STEM programs. TAME keeps up with Trailblazer visitors by providing them with information about colleges and scholarships to encourage further interest in STEM education.

"It's a long-term goal; it's not just for today, but today it is about getting them excited to be thinking about science and engineering," Raj said.

Trailblazer II is the newest and more advanced version of its first trailer, Trailblazer, which launched in 2007 and is still traveling throughout Texas. The Trailblazer's first model has been so popular that demand prompted the building of Trailblazer II, Raj said. Since September, Trailblazer I has served about 17,000 students.

The 40-foot trailer is scheduled to travel more than 300,000 miles to libraries, schools and community events in Texas during the next 10 years. For more information about Trailblazer II and TAME, visit www.tame.org.