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!

Local Students and Schools to Benefit from Free Field Trips to Learn about Energy

ORLANDO (May 4, 2012) – The Progress Energy Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Orlando Science Center to allow 2,500 fourth grade students to participate in “Get Energized” field trips free of charge. The program, now in its second year, is designed to excite students in Progress Energy’s service territory about energy, alternative energy and energy efficiency.

“The Orlando Science Center and Progress Energy have shared a longtime partnership in serving our community,” said Science Center President JoAnn Newman. “Thanks to their support, the Science Center will be able to expand on the learning that takes place in the classroom in a very dynamic way. Together, we can achieve the mutual goal of exciting young people through hands-on engagement in STEM subjects.”

Field trips will include a tour through the Science Park exhibit hall, participation in the “High Voltage” live show and a giant screen film in the Dr. Phillips CineDome. The Science Center will recruit schools from Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Polk and Volusia counties. Preference will be given to schools in underserved communities. The program will start again with field trips in the next academic year and run throughout the fall semester.


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Dr. Ioannis N. Miaoulis, President and Director of the Museum of Science, Boston visited the Orlando Science Center on February 15 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.  In this video, he takes a few minutes to answer questions for our viewers about engineering education.

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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.


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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…


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