You might have heard the term STEM mentioned lately.
The acronym that has educators, businesses and politicians abuzz, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is considered the cornerstone to our nation’s prosperity. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning, combining multiple academic subjects, focusing on the real-world impact of these lessons. It is about students applying science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make relevant connections between themselves and their school, community, work and their world. STEM education provides opportunities to create skills that move students forward to become stronger problem solvers and more creative innovators that can lead tomorrow’s global economy.
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.
Students are finishing high school without being fully prepared for college. According to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 report, only 19% of Florida’s class of 2013 scored “college-ready” on all four ACT exams. When compared to performance nationally, Florida ranked 41st in math and 48th in science on the 2013 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.
If future generations don’t receive an adequate STEM education, they won’t have the opportunity for the highest paying jobs, compete in a global market or fill the STEM pipeline that leads to economic growth. We hope you’ll join us on this journey!