January 24, 2017
NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 24, 2016 — UL, a global safety science organization, introduces UL Xplorlabs, an innovative online platform that encourages a new generation of problem solvers to find solutions to real world engineering challenges. As a module-based learning platform incorporating active participation, Xplorlabs is a flexible complement to middle school science, engineering and technology curricula.
“As part of our overall mission to create a safer world, UL has long been committed to increasing scientific literacy, discovery and student empowerment,” said Cara Gizzi, UL’s Director for Youth Education & Outreach. “UL Xplorlabs builds on this model by providing this flexible learning solution for educators and students alike which we hope will serve as a springboard for deeper understanding, curiosity and robust classroom discussion.”
The intent of the platform is to bridge the gap between the classroom and real-world engineering challenges and inspire critical thinking, solutions and sharing. All the module elements are aligned with the U.S. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and introduce a multi-faceted case-study that includes interactive videos, virtual testing elements, hands-on experiences and classroom crowd sourced challenges. Using these elements, the free platform is designed to help educators and students use scientific inquiry to ask why a phenomenon happens, connect the phenomenon with real-life engineering challenges, and apply relevant safety science that ultimately helps to foster solutions.
“Middle school students need to acquire science skills and knowledge, as well as an appreciation of science as a discipline and the extraordinary role that applied science plays in 21st century life. Students also need to acquire safety skills and behaviors to reduce preventable injuries. UL's Xplorlabs is unique in that it integrates both goals, focusing on the applied use of science to ensure safety in an increasingly technology-based world,” stated Michael Cohen PhD, President, Michael Cohen Group LLC.
The first module, Portable Electrical Power, explores the science of lithium-ion batteries, introduces the phenomenon of thermal runaway, and inspires students to think like a scientist to identify essential construction and performance requirements as a way to recognize the inherent risks a product could present.
“This program is invaluable because it is relevant, meaningful, and allows for students to solve real world problems with creative solutions, not prescribed results. It is aligned to NGSS and allows students the opportunity to engage in the scientific and engineering process while teachers are able to utilize the content in a number of flexible ways. Xplorlabs introduces new and exciting STEM career paths for students by connecting to the work happening at UL,” expressed Kelly Keena PhD, Blue Lotus Consulting & Evaluation and former science teacher/instructional coach.
To find out more about this free, innovative middle school resource, visit ULXplorLabs.org or follow @ULXplorlabs on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
UL solves the safety, security and sustainability challenges of the 21st century. We empower trust and enable the safe adoption of innovation. To do this, UL tests, inspects, audits, certifies, verifies claims, advises and trains as well as provides software solutions. Around the world, our employees share a common passion for our public mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. Our public charity, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., conducts independent research, community outreach, standards development and safety education. To learn more about us, visit UL.com.