Supporting the next generation of innovators

8528428383_5a196e3d58_oScience is a subject that opens many doors of discovery. It encourages students to use their imagination and more importantly to ask questions.

Today local educators are collaborating across communities and regions to expand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities for students. This mobilization of collected efforts is an initiative called, The Power of Discovery: STEM2. The California After School Network and California STEM Learning Network organize STEM2.

This collaboration is a new effort to build the power of schools and community-based organizations to increase STEM learning opportunities for California youth.

The project would not be possible without the funding provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, and the Samueli Foundation. Regional partners for this STEM initiative include the Greater Bay Area, Sacramento, Orange County, and San Diego.

Recently, THINK Together hosted a STEM Exploratorium that was widely attended. The Exploratorium showcased several organizations and foundations that support STEM learning. Each of the showcases had a STEM lesson plan demonstration ensuring that educators got a hands-on learning experience. What better way to share STEM practices than through a webinar? THINK Together has also held three webinars. The first one was called, ‘What is a high quality STEM program?’ the second topic was ‘Investigative vs. Instructional Learning’, and the final one was on ‘The Importance of Alignment.’ There are more being scheduled for the future.

     

    THINK Together has been participating by collaborating with all Orange County sites involved with the initiative. “The goal is to create a “Community of Practice,” says Roy Lee THINK Together administrative assistant. “We share our best practices and resources to improve the overall implementation of STEM-related curriculum and activities in extended learning time programs to benefit all students.”

    There have been several STEM2 related events supporting this initiative.

    The Samueli Foundation hosted a STEM Summit in 2010 that brought together national, state and local leaders. The summit’s mission was to explore resources and ideas that address the need to enhance STEM learning in order to fully support Orange County students in becoming competitive leaders in a global economy.

    “The Power of Discovery, STEM2 is providing students in the extended learning time space, whether or not they are in THINK Together, to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math, through hands-on, interactive experiences, says THINK Together Chief of Program Operations CynDee Zandes. “STEM provides the perfect opportunity to provide experiences that are active, meaningful, collaborative, support mastery, and expand horizons.  Participating in this initiative and supporting its implementation is a privilege for all of us at THINK Together.”

    Education has to evolve in order to better serve current and following generations, educators have to be ahead of the game in order to fully support students in reaching their full potential within the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. According to The World Economic Forum the United States ranks 52nd in the quality of mathematics and science education, and fifth in overall global competitiveness, which is noted as a declining number. The future of our students depends on our learning today.

    After all STEM education is what creates the next generation of innovators. Imagine the power of discovery!

    Follow THINK Together’s Pinterest STEM Board for lesson plan ideas and join in on the pinning fun.

     

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    1 Comment
    1. I would be very interested in initiating STEM programs in Petaluma, CA.

      I would appreciate further information about these programs and how to initiate them.

      Thank you,
      Dr. Eileen Asher

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