Getting and keeping students interested in STEM related subjects can be a challenge. However, there are several imaginative ways to make the content come alive. Several national organizations offer programs that can inspire and excite kids and deliver the kind of hands-on relevancy that they so desperately need.
For robotics, there’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) with programs for all age groups and BEST Robotics Inc, with middle and high school competitions. To provide a real world challenge that helps a person with a disability, teams of students design and build an assistive technology device in the JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) competition which recently opened registration for this year’s event. Students from Gardner Edgerton High School (KS), a past winning JETS team, will be featured at T+L and their devices will be showcased. Finally, ExploraVision, the world’s largest K-12 science and technology competition challenges teams of 2-4 students to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Hosted by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association, top teams can win substantial cash rewards of $5,000 or $10,000 for each student and a memorable, expense paid trip to Washington, DC. Listen to past ExploraVision participants share their experience. With the number of outstanding STEM-related competitions that exist, there’s no excuse for not embracing these activities to open the minds and create pathways to the future for your students.