Engage Students to Solve through Science
UL Xplorlabs is a FREE, innovative education platform created by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to working for a safer world. UL actualizes their mission through evidence-based research and the application of scientific knowledge. UL’s Education and Outreach programs, which address some of the world’s greatest safety threats, reach millions of people annually and contribute to building a global community that promotes safety, security and sustainability worldwide.
As a modular digital learning approach Xplorlabs is a flexible complement for secondary school educators to help the next generation of problem-solvers develop critical scientific reasoning skills and the curiosity to solve real-world challenges. Focused on developing programs that help students contextualize science, engineering, social studies and environmental science curriculum through rich experiential elements Xplorlabs captures imaginations with topics relevant to students’ everyday lives.
The first module, Portable Electrical Power, explores the science of lithium-ion batteries and thermal runaway. Through this real-world problem, students practice scientific inquiry and use design thinking to consider how safer products may be engineered.
The second module, Fire Forensics: Claims and Evidence, is designed to provide students with an understanding of fire, fire dynamics, and fire behavior. With this understanding, students are challenged to play the role of fire investigators: they must explain the results of a burn scene investigation using a claims, evidence and reasoning strategy, which is the language of scientists and engineers.
The third series of interactive modules - Safe and Sustainable Cities, will have middle school and secondary school students identify issues and design solutions for the challenges facing urban areas. These modules are based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11. In the first module, students explore the supply chain journey of the lithium-ion battery inside a mobile phone. Students discover the benefits, risks and challenges that come with light-weight, powerful, pocket-sized energy and their disposal. Once equipped with a greater understanding of the supply chain complexities students investigate methods of addressing these issues and have the opportunity to explore solutions to these problems.