Have STEM Projects, Will Travel

By Tadius Huser, Member Services Manager Highline Electric Association


In a partnership with the Colorado State University 4-H Extension, Colorado’s electric cooperatives sponsor the Mobile Energy Lab to inspire kids to learn about modern energy generation, energy sources, and energy efficiency practices. 

Toby Swaford, K-12 4-H STEM state specialist at Colorado State University is passionate about engaging and educating young people and brings amazing ideas to the Energy Lab. With a background in designing user experiences, Toby creates STEM projects that are interactive and fun.

The Colorado Rural Electric Member Services group sponsors the Colorado 4-H Energy Trailer.


The customized trailer is full of functional hands-on projects, activities, and materials focused on the experiential learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematical concepts — all related to energy. The trailer has been used at county fairs, community events, and at schools. In March, when the trailer was at an elementary school in El Paso County, the fifth graders reported that it was “The best day ever!” 

The mobile “pop-up” outdoor classroom can be used anywhere across Colorado and moves throughout the state on a rotation. Throughout the year, Toby hauls the trailer and travels to the state’s five 4-H Extension regions (southern Colorado, Front Range, Eastern Plains, mountain region, and Western Slope) where it spends roughly four months offering opportunities of fun-filled education for local kids. 

Colorado’s electric cooperatives are innovators in the electric industry and leaders in their communities, sponsoring several youth programs including the 4-H Mobile Energy Lab through their member services group. And your local electric co-op is always looking for new and creative ways to further its impact and connect with its members. When presented with an opportunity to give kids hands-on learning opportunities about energy concepts, the state’s electric co-ops collectively raised their hands with a clear answer: “Yes — we’ll do it.” 

4-H Mobile Lab registrations are limited to Colorado’s 4-H agents. Contact your local 4-H office for details on how to bring 4-H STEM to your event.