About Xplorlabs

Designed to inspire and engage the future of safety science

Our education and safety science research teams designed Xplorlabs to encourage students to “solve through science.” It is especially focused on engaging middle-school students to encourage their continued interest in science at the critical juncture when students develop scientific identity.

Through a blended model of high-quality online interactive activities, videos, instructional experiences, hands-on classroom investigations, and creative classroom challenges, the Xplorlabs platform is a free, STEM-focused experience that creates interesting opportunities and STEM resources that create engagement, skills, knowledge, and action in the science of safety.

  • Problem-based and phenomena-driven learning engages students. Inquiry-driven instruction encourages students to investigate real-world phenomena relevant to their lives and solve problems the same way scientists and engineers do.
  • Students develop the skills to ask questions that drive learning, develop investigations, and explore those questions, then engineer solutions to problems in safety and sustainability.
  • Xplorlabs materials are reliable and valid content based on trusted research emerging from UL Research Institutes, tied to key science concepts that students need to know, and contextualized within students’ experiences.
  • Educational resources build students’ agency and motivation to explore careers and engineer solutions that have an impact on safety science.
  • And that’s not all. Expect new capabilities and prepare to investigate new topics as Xplorlabs continues to evolve and expand.

Our approach: Support educators in communities & classrooms

Xplorlabs prioritizes the educator by engaging with classrooms and communities, offering flexible resources, and trusting educators to use the resources that allow them to lead from their classrooms.

  • From site-based collaborative training to teacher ambassadors, Xplorlabs creates collaboration opportunities between communities and schools rooted in the science of safety.
  • Educators are encouraged to use these resources in parts or as a whole depending on classroom, student, and curricular opportunities.
  • Trust the teacher. We honor and trust that educators make the best choices about using Xplorlabs resources to support their students. We designed Xplorlabs to provide agency, efficacy, and a place for feedback from the educators adopting this resource. Please submit feedback to:

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I teach an Xplorlabs pathway?

Xplorlabs creates learning pathways initiated by a phenomenon and generating a trail of inquiry using a series of driving questions. Engaging phenomena include lithium-ion battery fires in e-scooters and hoverboards in the Science of Thermal Runway, e-waste as a global safety issue in the Science of Extraction to E-waste, and creating a claim based on evidence and reasoning to solve a fire mystery in The Science of Fire Forensics. The pathways are designed to complement classroom curriculum related to science, engineering, and technology and to be relevant to education settings outside of schools. The Resource Library contains interactive videos, online experiences, classroom activities, or challenges – that can be done independently of one another and in any order.

Teachers and educators know what is needed in their classrooms. The pathways, the Science of Thermal Runaway, the Science of Extraction to E-waste, and the Science of Fire Forensics, are narrative storylines that combine individual assets to fully explore the science and impacts of a phenomenon. The asset library allows teachers and students to pick which individual asset(s) they want to explore. This flexibility of the resources allows teachers to build the experience they want for their students. Check out our teacher testimonials to hear how Xplorlabs is being implemented in classrooms across the country.

Yes, every Xplorlabs pathway was carefully created to align with NGSS, including crosscutting concepts, application of science and engineering practices and attention to disciplinary core ideas. The landing page for each module lists the specific standards covered.

Yes! As Xplorlabs continues to develop, new topics, modules, resources, and capabilities will be added. Emerging phenomena in safety science also drive the science explored at UL Research Institutes and ultimately inform our Xplorlabs resources. Sign up for email updates at the bottom of this page to stay informed.

No, the pathways are modular. Educators and students can choose to explore Xplorlabs resources at the pathway, driving question, or from the Resource Library.

Yes, the interactive videos and simulations can be done independently or as a class. Many of the hands-on investigations are structured so that students can work in small groups. 

Yes! We have updated Xplorlabs to be an even more flexible resource. You can access all of the Xplorlabs resources you know and love here – the website just looks a little different. With the updated look comes additional features. You can now directly link to specific educational assets and pages within our pathways. This allows more flexible use of the content.

Xplorlabs uses the knowledge derived from UL Research Institutes to build Xplorlabs learning materials for secondary students and educators. Learn more about UL Research Institutes and our work.

Please explore our Future of Safety Science webinar series to learn more about opportunities in safety science such as anti-counterfeiting, autonomous vehicles, data science, careers, and young professionals.

Xplorlabs recognizes the importance of building relationships in the community. We are proud of the opportunity that The Science of Fire Forensics provides for educators and fire experts to collaborate on educating students. Local fire departments often have a Community Risk Reduction division composed of fire safety educators. This is a great way to start engaging with your local fire department. You can also explore this webinar discussing how Cobb County School District and Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services forged their partnership. We also encourage partnerships with other community members. Consider other professionals who have expertise about the problems explored in Xplorlabs pathways. 


The Science of Thermal Runaway

Engineering Solutions

From hoverboards to cell phones, portable electrical power makes life as we know it possible. But it can come with some dangerous possibilities. Let’s investigate, experiment and search for solutions.

The Science of Extraction to E-Waste

Trade-Offs & the Supply Chain

Safe and sustainable cities will depend on lithium-ion batteries to power our modern lives. But what are the costs?

The Science of Fire Forensics

Claims, Evidence and Reasoning

There’s been a fire. Your job is to figure out where the fire started, and how.

The Science of Fire Safety

Fire safety is a complex problem without a single answer. Learn how to engineer and design fire safe spaces.