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. It is an interdisciplinary approach to learning by combining multiple academic subjects and focusing on real-world lessons. It is about students applying science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work and the world around them while moving students forward – creating stronger problem solvers and more creative innovators to lead the 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!

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:

 


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Dr. Ioannis N. Miaoulis, President and Director of the Museum of Science, Boston visited the Orlando Science Center this week to speak to a select crowd of educators, community leaders, science center staff and trustees. and other VIP's about his efforts to impact Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in America.

When Dr. Miaoulis first arrived in the U.S. from Greece, he was surprised at the level of confusion from American students about what Engineering actually is. He saw the term engineering used in many contexts from train drivers, to anything that needs fixing, even as a label on janitorial closets.

He noticed that the science taught in our schools was primarily focused on natural science, ignoring the aspects of our world that is human made. He felt that the US had reached a point where there was great attention paid to how many legs grasshoppers have rather than explaining how the items like buildings, cars and roads came to be.

The answer to this query became his life calling and Dr. Miaoulis began to lead the charge in Massachusetts to introduce engineering into the school curriculum and ultimately impact STEM focus on national educational standards.

Read more...


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The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) just published a report entitled Engage to Excel: Producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In the report, the Council proposes five overarching recommendations to transform undergraduate STEM education during the transition from high school to college and during the first two years of undergraduate STEM education:

1. Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices.

2. Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses.

3. Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap.

4. Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers.

5. Create a Presidential Council on STEM Education with leadership from the academic and business communities to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education.

The entire report can be found by clicking on the image below…

pcast-executive-report-final_feb-web


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The Orlando Science Center is dedicated to its mission to inspire science learning for life. Bridging the gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education begins one child at a time.


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: gservices@osc.org
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
This project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. Privacy Policy • Accessibility

A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER, A FLORIDA-BASED NONPROFIT CORPORATION (REGISTRATION NO. CH2342), MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR VISITING THEIR WEBSITE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.