The Rutgers Science Explorer programs brings the excitement of Rutgers’ research and researchers to students in grades 4-12. Staffed by Rutgers scientists, students engage in standards-based, hands-on science activities in life, earth, and physical sciences. Whether it’s aboard our state-of-the-art mobile laboratory (our science bus) or at our facilities on Busch Campus, students work with our scientists to explore STEM content, practice STEM skills, and learn about career opportunities.
The innovative science activities offered on the Rutgers Science Explorer and through our other virtual and in-person programming are designed to enhance existing middle school science programs. Enthusiastic scientists and Rutgers students staff the bus and serve as role models for middle school students. The Rutgers Science Explorer program has the following goals:
- to engage and excite young students with standards-based, hands-on activities;
- to infuse contemporary science into middle school programs through interactions with Rutgers graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff;
- to provide students with an opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment and the tools of technology;
- to establish and maintain partnerships between Rutgers and middle schools across New Jersey;
- to become an ongoing resource for teachers and school districts
The Rutgers Science Explorer has its roots in Rutgers' Math and Science Learning Center (MSLC), an academic support and outreach center on Rutgers' Busch campus in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Math and Science Learning Center provides tours of its hands-on demonstrations and science instruction to a limited number of visiting school groups. The MSLC staff's vision of bringing its hands-on science activities and demonstrations to more New Jersey middle school students was made possible by the generosity of the Edison Venture Fund, which provided funding for the purchase of a customized mobile laboratory. The Ohio-based company, OBS Inc., collaborated with Rutgers' MSLC staff to design the mobile laboratory, the Rutgers Science Explorer. Innovative activities developed by fellows who are participating in the National Science Foundation-funded GK–12 Program at Rutgers provide the inspiration for many of the activities that are offered on the Rutgers Science Explorer.