Engaging the Next Generation of Real-World Problem Solvers Through Safety Science Education

UL Xplorlabs inspires students via an innovative digital learning platform.

An innovative engineering and science platform

UL Xplorlabs is a free, innovative digital platform that encourages a new generation of problem solvers to find solutions to real-world engineering challenges. The platform bridges the gap between the classroom and real-world engineering problems and inspires critical thinking, solutions and sharing.

“Gone are the days of memorizing boring facts! When learning is relevant and contextualized in a real-world setting students are more engaged,” says Dr. Sally Creel, STEM and Innovation Supervisor at Cobb County (GA) Schools.

The module-based learning platform allows students to focus on current engineering and science issues that are relevant to their everyday lives. Questions are the engine driving science, engineering and research. Xplorlabs encourages students to ask why a phenomenon happens and how they can solve the problem. Students make observations, brainstorm and propose ideas, present options, present results and explore solutions - along with any failures. The Xplorlabs experience connects teachers and students with practicing UL engineers, scientists, chemists and researchers who engage in the process of asking scientific questions every day.

“For a program like this to be valuable to teachers, it must not only be informed by Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but also allow students to solve real world problems with creative solutions, not prescribed results,” says Kelly Keena, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Principal at Blue Lotus Consulting & Evaluation. “Xplorlabs introduces new and exciting STEM career paths for students by connecting to the work happening at UL.”

A flexible and complementary enhancement to traditional classroom learning

Adaptable learning solutions for educators and students can be easily incorporated into existing curricula and serve as a springboard for deeper understanding, curiosity and robust classroom discussion. The modules are designed to be self-led, with the educator facilitating conversation, or can be adapted for educator-led programming.

UL Xplorlabs is a flexible complement to middle school science, technology and engineering curricula.  At the heart of STEM is problem solving and processing skills that apply to everything students will do for the rest of their lives. Xplorlabs helps teachers engage young minds in a way that cultivates a passion for inquiry as well as generates excitement for problem solving.

“We believe by using the engineering process to examine questions of safety, security and sustainability we can equip the next generation of problem solvers to develop innovations that will help keep the world safe. UL Xplorlabs will serve as that learning tool for inspired thinkers who will be solving problems that don’t yet exist and working on scientific endeavors that haven’t even been thought of.” said Cara Gizzi, VP Education and Outreach.

Relevant Resources

RESOURCE #1: UL Xplorlabs

Fast Facts

  • The online platform engages students ages 9 – 14 with content-rich experiential elements including videos, interactive lessons, virtual tests, hands-on experiments and challenges.
  • Middle school teachers and students watch UL engineers and scientists as they demonstrate solutions to relevant, real-world engineering challenges.
  • Research-based and teacher-tested, all content aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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