The Idaho STEM Action Center is hosting a virtual event this week. The Action Center is where kids can learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and apply their learning to cool science experiments.
The Action Center usually hosts the “STEM Matters!” event at Boise’s Capitol Building, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things had to change. Instead, the center is hosting a virtual event throughout this week.
Kaitlin Maguire, interim executive director for the Action Center, told BYU-Idaho Radio that even though the setting is different, there will still be plenty of learning opportunities.
“We’ll have discussions with industry partners as well as representatives and senators to really bring to light why STEM matters,” Maguire said.
Throughout the year, the Action Center is always working to teach kids about STEM through several different programs. They also teach educators about the elements of STEM to help their kids learn that information from more than just the Action Center.
“One of our great programs for students is our Idaho Science and Engineering fairs for high school students to help them engage in real-world research,” Maguire said. “They compete in these fairs, and the winner goes on to represent Idaho at the international fairs.”
The STEM fairs have really helped students show off their inventiveness and creativity, Maguire said. Two students developed a new knee brace to help patients in physical therapy, and another learned how to code to create a program to help his family’s dairy, all because of the STEM fairs.
The pandemic has made life difficult for much of the country, but Maguire said the pandemic has really shown how important it is for kids to learn STEM skills.
“We really need problem solvers and critical thinkers, and STEM, through its hands-on and project-based approach, really help students develop those skills so that they can help us with today’s problems as well as tomorrow’s problems,” she said.
The Action Center’s goal is to ultimately keep students working towards successful careers, while also helping the community at the same time.
“We really work to set student’s up for their own success as well as Idaho’s economy,” Maguire said.
You can get more information about the Action Center and its online programs on its website.