"It doesn't soak into the rock, so that means it's not permeable," the 13-year-old declares, eyeing the bead of water.
The mobile laboratory - filled with dozens of laptops and touch screens, orange-and-white robots and displays on vitamins, architecture and hurricanes - is expected to begin visiting each of Klein's 40 schools by the end of the year. It's been dubbed the STEAM Express for its emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Klein already implements the state curriculum, which requires math and science education from K-12, and starting in eighth grade, the district has popular career and technical education programs in computer programming, engineering and agriculture.
But administrators hope the STEAM Express, a play on the STEM acronym, will be a more hands-on, career-focused learning vehicle that inspires more students to pursue STEAM careers.
"We are finding that we have gaps with our younger children learning about the STEAM careers," said Adam Hile, the district's director of curriculum and instruction. "The STEAM Express is going to allow us to bring those ideas down to the younger kids and hopefully spark an interest when they are younger."
The plan for now is to take the turquoise-and-white trailer to each Klein school and potentially to a local library and other locations in the summer for students who have limited access to materials like those in the lab.
The mobile lab currently focuses on careers such as geology, engineering, meteorology, architecture, health, space exploration and robotics. Each area has its own section inside the trailer, designated by large, white letters. Teachers can decide what they want students to learn about when the trailer visits.
The focus on allocating time and resources to these subjects is positive, said Anthony Petrosino, an education professor at University of Texas at Austin who focuses on STEM learning. But he said the challenge would be maintaining an in-depth, consistent education effort.
"They're getting exposure, they certainly will be learning things," he said. "But some of those gains and some of the ability to build on things might be hampered by the fact that maybe they're only meeting once a week or on some irregular time frame."
Three-year-old Zachary McLean, who currently attends the district's pre-kindergarten program, rearranges puzzle pieces with his finger on a touch screen laptop as he sits under a sign that reads "health."
"It says veggies!" McLean exclaimed, as he pieced together the letters in a puzzle about nutrition.
Part of the appeal of the lab, Klein officials said, is that it can adapt to all grade levels and the computer programs, which allow students do everything from design roller coasters to create tornadoes, can be updated.
"I want to be on the cutting edge," said Bill Nebeker, the STEAM Express coordinator who will be taking the mobile lab to each school.
Nebeker said about 30 students can use the lab at a time, with half inside at the various stations and half outside, where a pullout 19-foot awning and a drop-down stage can be set up as a makeshift classroom.
"I just want to excite kids for science," he said. "I just want to excite kids about the possibilities."
Inspired by book bus
The STEAM lab builds off of the district's "Reading Express," a summer reading program run out of a retrofitted school bus that keeps kids, particularly those who might have limited access to books, reading even after the school year ends.
Over the last two years, officials from the district's education foundation raised some $300,000 in individual donations and in-kind donations of wiring, laptops and other technology of about $50,000. On Wednesday, the foundation officially donated the whole lab to the district.
So far, the district is allotting about $50,000 for the lab's operation and maintenance each year, Hile said.
He said the school district will evaluate the effectiveness of the mobile lab, eventually tracking students' paths after school.
"We'll be able to see: 'Do more of our students who graduate from Klein pursue more STEAM careers when they go to college or not?'" Hile said.