by: Djonna Gay I. Albufera, PSTC-Oriental Mindoro
      Athena Colline L. Verdey, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

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PSTC-Oriental Mindoro PSTD Jesse M. Pine (leftmost) with the staff of the Science Explorer bus, as well as some elementary students, at the Pola Gymnasium

      Around 600 students and teachers from the municipality of Pola, Oriental Mindoro experienced a cool and fun way to learn Science when the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Explorer Bus made a five-day stopover there last March 14-18, 2016.

     The country’s first and only mobile science laboratory, the Science Explorer intends to provide a mobile interactive S&T learning facility for schools with inadequate amenities or with no science laboratories across the country. Bringing science to life, the Science Explorer aims to  inspire science and mathematics interest using amusing and exciting hands-on learning experience with audio-visual equipment and instructional materials, including a growing collection of modules tailor-fitted to elementary and high school students.Included topics range from space science, creativity and invention, disaster preparedness and climate change, robotics, marine science, and engineering. Students will also get a taste of laboratory science, as lab equipment are available inside for experiments that they are sure to enjoy.

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      Through the joint efforts of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Pola, headed by Mayor Leandro P. Panganiban Jr., and the DOST-MIMAROPA Provincial S&T Center-Oriental Mindoro,Science Explorer Bus hit the roads of Mindoro for the second time after its initial launch in Bulalacao last 2013, the first in MIMAROPA then.

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Students eagerly participating in the activities inside the Science Explorer bus

     According to Science Research Specialist II Mark Ivan Robles of DOST-SEI, “This project aims to encourage students to take science and technology courses.” Robles also emphasized that we lack scientist as we only have 200 out of 380—the number needed in every million population in order to help in our country’s development.

     Students were also allowed to attend classes inside the 30-seater bus as they provided storytelling activities and face-to-face interactions with scientists and inventors, which allow learning more interactive and engaging other than using the typical textbook lecture lessons that most of the children shy away from.

       Mr. Jesse M. Pine, Provincial S&T Director (PSTD) of PSTC-Oriental Mindoro, said that through this project, the principle of science and technology can be imparted to students through lecture and application and experience on how science and technology works. “It is better that they learn what science is at a young age since it is seldom demonstrated through laboratory activities.” Pine also emphasized the difference of classroom discussions and interactive learning sessions through the Science Explorer bus.