Inside INdiana Business

Purdue startup bringing STEM learning to isolated students

Explore Interactive, a Purdue University-affiliated startup, is hosting a virtual summer camp for students to explore STEM concepts.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Explore Interactive wants to turn game play into serious learning for elementary students kept away from classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Purdue startup is marketing an augmented reality platform that teaches science, technology, engineering and math.

The company has worked with teachers and students from across the country to develop MindLabs, which allows kids to work together to solve STEM-related problems. The founders have now teamed up with the Museum of Science in Boston and Homewood Science Center, near Chicago, to host a virtual STEM camp.

“There is no better time to empower racially and ethnically diverse children to see themselves as scientists,” said Heather Gunsallus, vice president of STEM education at the Museum of Science, Boston. “The team at the Museum of Science, Boston, is thrilled to support the vital work of Purdue, Explore Interactive and Homewood Science Center with the students in Chicago’s Southland.”

The camp is being conducted this week for students aged 8-12, with virtual sessions, followed by student projects. 

“In spite of these challenging times, we are able to fulfil our mission of inspiring scientific wonder, learning and pursuit,” said Edie Dobrez, executive director of the Homewood Science Center. “We are honored to work with esteemed colleagues at Purdue and the Museum of Science, Boston, to offer “Augmented Reality: Northern Lights” for our racially and ethnically diverse student population in Chicago’s Southland.”

Thompson and team worked with researchers at the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering at Purdue under funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Elevate Ventures.