About COSI on Wheels

COSI On Wheels is the traveling outreach program of COSI Columbus that engages your students with a dynamic opening assembly and fun, hands-on science activities aligned with the Ohio Academic Content Standards and the National Science Education Standards.

  • For the 2014-15 school year, 98.62% of schools said our program was excellent or good
  • Since 1982, we have seen more than 8 MILLION students
  • With 5 COSI On Wheels shows and Science Spots events, we see an average of 250,000 students per year.
  • Our COSI On Wheels programs are seen by 6,000 to 10,000 students each week

What COSI provides:

  • One day of science, learning, and fun for up to 500 students!
  • One enthusiastic COSI team member
  • A gym full of hands-on experiments

What the Host School Provides

  • One gymnasium or cafeteria that can adequately hold the student audience
  • 2-4 adult (age 16 or older) volunteers to help set up the evening before
  • 10 eight foot tables for experiments and activities throughout the day
  • 15-20 adult (age 16 or older) volunteers during the program day
  • Access to electricity and water

How Does a COSI On Wheels Program Work?

The COSI On Wheels truck arrives at the school the afternoon or early evening on the day before the event. The COSI educator and 2-4 adult volunteers unload the truck and set up the program in the gymnasium, cafeteria, or large room at the school. If the school has stairs leading to the setup room, COSI requires 4-6 adult volunteers able to lift 50 pounds to help with the set up. Most programs require the use of 10 eight foot tables. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

The following day begins with a 45 minute orientation for 15-20 volunteers (provided by the school). The parent volunteers will facilitate hands-on experiments and experiences to small groups of students later throughout the day.

After the orientation, the COSI On Wheels educator performs a large group assembly for the entire school (COSI can perform two assemblies if needed based on the size of gymnasium and school population). The dynamic 45-minute presentation serves as an introduction to the topic the students will be exploring.

Once the assembly is finished, students will return to the gymnasium in smaller groups (62 or fewer students per session) to explore the different hands-on stations. The hands-on sessions (scheduled for 30-45 minutes dependent on school size) continue throughout the day until all students have had an opportunity to experiment.

Challenges Faced by Schools

"We are unable to attain any adult volunteers."

As you can see, COSI On Wheels depends on the assistance of the adult volunteers. Possible sources of adult volunteers include: PTA/PTO members, parents, grandparents, retired teachers, local college/university students, sororities/fraternities, honors high school science students, or active older adults from a nearby retirement village.

"We don't have enough time for everyone to participate."

First, you may wish to secure COSI On Wheels for two days in order to accommodate all of your students. Another option is to include everyone in the assembly and limit hands-on sessions to certain grades. Feel free to contact the COSI Outreach Program Coordinator at 614.228.2674 x3144 with specific concerns.

"The only large room available is the cafeteria. What do we do about lunch?"

Because of all the equipment involved in the hands-on sessions, the ten tables needed for these sessions cannot be used for lunch tables. Many schools have students pack their lunches or pick up their lunch and eat in the classroom.

2018-19 Brochure

Terms and Conditions

E-Mail COSI On Wheels

Survival Guide

Sample Setup

Blank Schedule Form

Help us improve
COSI On Wheels!

If you recently hosted a COSI On Wheels program at your school, please take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Your feedback will help us improve programs for you and your students.

Evaluation Survey

333 West Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215