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!

Orlando Science Center was joined by almost 20 other Florida-based science centers, museums, corporations and educators in a sprawling STEM Day exhibition at the Florida Capitol on Tuesday, April 21. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math education.

Developed by Orlando Science Center, this collaborative event marked the second consecutive year for STEM Day, which the Science Center created to engage with and help legislators better understand the growing impacts of STEM education in terms of workforce and economic growth throughout the state.

Photo Credit: Roberto Gonzalez

Video Credit: Dave Heller

Participating organizations were stationed inside and outside the Capitol building with interactive exhibits, simulators, robotics and more. State legislators discovered how museums and science centers bring STEM to life through engaging hands-on experiences while discussing the importance of STEM education as it relates to growing Florida’s technological workforce.

STEM Day partners included Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee; Collegiate Pathways, Inc.; FIRST Robotics; FIRST Robotics Team FRC Number 3502: "The Octo-π-Rates"; Florida Afterschool Network; Florida Hospital; Florida Virtual School; International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research; Meta-Data Life Sciences (Aldebaran Robotics); Museum of Science & History, Jacksonville; Museum of Science & Industry, Tampa; National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Florida State University); PHENIX Design Group, Inc.; River City Science Academy; STEM Sim Ex; Tallahassee Museum; and Valencia College.

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Orlando Science Center teams up with museums, science centers, educators and corporations from around the state at STEM Day in Tallahassee on Tuesday, April 21. The goal is to engage legislators about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Participants will be stationed inside and outside the Capitol building with experiments, simulators, robots and more! Throughout the day, state legislators will take part in hands-on activities while learning how STEM education grows Florida’s technological workforce.



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It's been said that today's youth are tomorrow's leaders. They're also tomorrow's innovators and inventors, and the ones who can help create new opportunities for our local economies to prosper and flourish.

To inspire our local youth to develop new ideas that can change the world, Bright House Networks is proud to present "Bright Ideas STEM from Today’s Youth" — a multi-state competition where high school students show how STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) can bring their idea to life!

Want to get your students' inner geniuses going? We've put together a few ideas and a list of resources that can help you focus your students on using STEM to solve some of today’s challenges.

Whether big or small, your students’ Bright Ideas can change the world!

Download the Bright Ideas Institute Kit to get the tools and instructions you need to participate. This kit includes:

  • The Bright Ideas 60-second promotional video
  • A list of programming networks with STEM-related content
  • Some suggested activities for generating Bright Ideas entries

For more information or to enter the competition, visit


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On March 5, 2014, Orlando Science Center and partners including Lockheed Martin, Florida State University's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa), STEM Sim Ex, FIRST and Team Orlando converged in Tallahassee to facilitate discussion with state legislators; engage them in active participation of hands-on STEM activities; and promote the value of science centers and strategic partnerships as a tool to inspire and encourage our youth to pursue STEM careers.

In this video, Orlando Science Center President & CEO JoAnn Newman talks about the STEM crisis and what science centers, industry and education are doing about it; Tobi Allen, Community Relations Manager at Lockheed Martin, talks about the importance of getting kids excited about STEM careers; Science Center Educator Emily Duguid breaks down the life-size Angry Birds activity; and Rep. Charles McBurney of Jacksonville comments on the impact STEM learning can have on today's youth.

Special thanks to Dave Heller for shooting and editing this video.

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Whirl a cup of water over your head without getting wet:

KidsCorner Water Whirlers

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  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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