You might have heard the term STEM mentioned lately.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These are areas of expertise considered to be critical to our community and our country’s future. However, we face a STEM crisis.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, innovation, largely derived from advances in science and engineering, is a primary driver of the future economy and creation of jobs. However, the percentage of science and engineering degrees awarded annually peaked in the 1960's. In Central Florida, we actually lag behind. Only 20% of the degrees awarded in Central Florida are in the STEM fields, compared to 30% nationally.
Things aren’t much better on the middle or high school levels. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93% of U.S. public school students in 5 - 8 grade are taught physical sciences by a teacher without a degree or certificate in the physical sciences. In high school, Florida students ranked 42nd in math and 49th in science in the nation on the 2011 ACT.
In an increasingly competitive world, where innovation is the key to a flourishing economy, the need for us to educate ourselves and our children in STEM fields is more pressing than ever.
Orlando Science Center is taking a stand in the efforts to revitalize STEM education in our community. Whether you encounter us here in the facility with your family, with your Scout organization, on a field trip, or even through one of our off-site school programs, our goal is the same – to show people that exploring these critical areas in an informal way can be fun, exciting and even inspiring.
Our hope is that you’ll take the things you discovered as a result of your time with us and use them as a springboard to explore at home and in school too. Our ultimate goal is to create a STEM-centered community that paves the way towards excellence in science, technology, engineering and math.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey!
19 March 2012
Posted in Our STEM Crisis
Orlando is getting ready to host its first Maker Faire! Here is some information shamelessly pulled from their web site.
"Orlando Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration featuring DIY science and technology, rockets, robots, crafts, and music. The event will be held on May 26th, 2012 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.
With over 28 thousand square feet of air conditioned exhibits plus a Power Racing Track, Orlando Mini Maker Faire will be one of the largest community organized “Mini” Maker Faire events in 2012.
Maker Faire is the World’s Largest DIY festival—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.
Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, and commercial exhibitors. They are of all ages and backgrounds. Maker Faire’s mission is to entertain, inform, connect and inspire these thousands of Makers and aspiring Makers."
Here's a look at a Maker Faire that took place a couple of years ago: