Elementary STEAM Bus

“The inspirational things that we see and touch as children are a big part of who we become as adults.  Those early experiences, especially the tangible ones, plant the seeds of what is possible in our young minds.  The Byerly Foundation believes in the importance of these types of experiences and is proud to have played a role in this wonderful GSSM initiative”- Bob Brown, The Byerly Foundation Board of Trustees Chair.

Through a generous donation from the Byerly Foundation, GSSM converted a 14-passenger bus into a mobile science lab that serves students in grades 3 through 5 throughout the state of South Carolina. The STEAM Bus is equipped with equipment and materials such as a YuMi robot, laptops, and more for students to complete interactive activities. 

Traveling to SC elementary schools, the STEAM Bus provides standards-based, hands-on lessons led by a GSSM instructor. During their visit, elementary students will explore and participate in a variety of inquiry-driven activities and projects related to STEAM topics, including engineering, chemistry, color, and electronics. Each lesson lasts approximately one hour and all necessary materials are provided by GSSM. Teachers are encouraged to accompany their students during their time on the STEAM Bus. 

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Current Lessons

Discovering Circuits (Gr 3)

Students work in pairs to build several simple circuits and explore electricity using Snap Circuits kits.

Electric Circuit Greeting Cards (Gr 3-5)

Students explore how electricity moves through a circuit, using different materials to create a card with an LED and functional switch.

Light & Color (Gr 4)

Students explore the colored components of white light and how colored light differs from pigmented paints.

Caesar Cipher Cryptography (Gr 4-5)

Students explore the idea of encryption and privacy in the age of technology by learning how to make and break codes.

Biomedical Engineering - Protect that Pill! (Gr 5)

Students reinforce their knowledge of the digestive system and explore the concept of simulation by developing and testing a pill coating that can withstand the churning actions and acidic environment found in the stomach.

Ecosystem Modeling (Gr 5)

Students investigate ecosystem dynamics by using a game of tag to model the flow of energy between organisms and the impact of limiting factors. An alternative "ecosystem weaving" lesson can be used in the event of inclement weather or to meet accessibility needs.

Rockets in Motion (Gr 5)

Students build paper rockets around film canisters "engines" and use chemistry to understand Newton's third law of motion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a fee to participate in this program?

No, the STEAM Bus is offered free to SC schools thanks to generous donations made through the Byerly Foundation.

What grade levels does the STEAM Bus serve?

Our STEAM Bus lessons serve 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and teachers. Not every lesson is suitable for every grade level due to differences in curriculum standards and understanding. However, some lessons may be adaptable for multiple grade levels. Current lessons and the recommended grade levels are listed above. If you have further questions on our offerings, please contact Mrs. Barbara Urban.

How long are the lessons?

Most of our STEAM Bus lessons last for one hour. Some lessons may be shortened to accommodate your school's scheduling needs, but we do require a minimum of 45 minutes to work with your students.

Do students travel on the bus?

No, the bus will be parked at the elementary school and remain stationary while students visit the bus during their assigned time.

Does my school need to provide teachers or chaperones for students on the bus?

While GSSM instructors will lead the lesson and provide supervision for participating students, we do request that students be accompanied by one familiar adult during their visit. Interested teachers, administrators, or parent volunteers are all welcome to join the fun!

How do I schedule a STEAM Bus visit for my school?

Complete this form to request a STEAM Bus visit. A program coordinator will be in touch to confirm your school's needs after your request is submitted.