University of Illinois Extension

About the Mobile Science Laboratory (MSL)

Science on the Go Bus in front of Assembly Hall - Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois Science on the Go Mobile Science Laboratory is a hands-on learning lab that is available to Chicagoland schools, libraries, community centers, churches, community fairs, museums, and neighborhoods to deliver science and math programming.

This 34 foot Winnebago-style bus features 11 individual desk-work stations with wireless Internet access and laboratory equipment including microscopes, Vernier probes, and other scientific equipment.

Science on the Go is designed to serve students in grades K-12. However, the vehicle will also be able to accommodate young adults, working age adults, seniors, and wheel chair-bound persons.

Children love to explore and discover new ideas. These discoveries can lead to and become their future with the right opportunities and guidance.

Our mission is to help young people discover the world of math and science.

Programs use real-life examples to explore topics like math, cells, and dissections. Students' learning can be extended with suggested activities for use in class or at home.

Whatever the season, students will find age appropriate, standards-based, hands-on programming that engages them, enhances classroom learning and brings science and math to life.

The Bus Features...

Eleven individual desk workstations, instructor's station, refrigerators, and ample functional storage space. The MSL is fully-stocked with modern scientific laboratory equipment including microscopes, graphic calculators, probes, and other standard scientific equipment.

The Mobile Science Laboratory is designed to hold eleven students and one instructor at any given time. Conservatively, the bus can serve at least 25 students/day, or approximately 6,000 students per year in the greater Chicagoland area. It serves public and private schools primarily, but is also available to deliver programming in larger group settings such as block parties, museum events, community fairs, and other special events. It travels extensively throughout the 950 square mile area of Cook County, and extends the outreach of Extension to all of Chicago and the neighboring northern, western, and southern suburbs.

Primarily, the Science on the Go Mobile Science Laboratory serves children (Grades 3-12). However, the vehicle is able to accommodate young adults, working-age adults, seniors, and wheelchair-bound persons.

Programs cover the vast array of Extension scientific program areas. Currently, Cook County Extension has educators in the fields of animal science, biology, health, horticulture, math, and physics, with additional programming possibilities in engineering. Curricula developed by each individual educator includes programs such as DNA isolation and animal dissection.


Below are just a few of the uses for the Science on the Go Mobile Science Laboratory.

  • Technology classes
  • Science laboratories
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Video presentations
  • Job skills training classes

Special Features

The Mobile Science Laboratory contains the following features:

  • Workstations for 11 students. Each workstation is equipped with:
    • Desk and padded chair suitable for students (K-12) or adults
    • Mark-resistant and chemical-resistant surfaces
    • Desktop workspace large enough for conducting laboratory experiments
  • Wheelchair lift and access to two (2) workstations
  • Internal secured storage area (cabinets) for laptops, microscopes, paper supplies, and other such educational equipment and media
  • Generator to provide sufficient electricity to operate lab
  • Internal PA and surround sound speaker system with wireless microphone
  • Non-slip rubber or tile flooring
  • Overhead fluorescent lighting system main, with floor-mounted "safety lighting"
  • Thermostat equipped to maintain constant temperature (both A/C or heat) in classroom area
  • Valid State of Illinois safety inspection sticker, flags, flares, two (2) fire extinguishers and first-aid kit