Various stakeholders from private businesses have partnered with schools to help expand science, technology, engineering and math education to approximately 40,000 students around the state as part of the Scale-Up initiative in Iowa.

The primary goal of the council is to boost the level of STEM participation, especially in traditionally under served areas. The result is a boom of STEM-related activities, including robotics clubs and family STEM nights. 

This winter, fourth-graders at New Hampton Elementary School are tying their math, science and literacy lessons to a common theme: motion. A day at school may catch them calculating velocity, reducing friction, modeling automobile safety and writing technical reports that bring it all together.

That is STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the classroom as experts define it — integrated, active, real-world problem-solving. Learners in this style of education, according to the Center for Education at the National Research Council, are more creative, collaborative, intelligent and interested in STEM-based careers.

STEM classrooms are the incubators for Iowa’s future innovators. 

The scene in New Hampton is playing out in more than 800 classrooms and other settings involving 40,000 learners across Iowa this year through the Scale-Up initiative of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. A dozen outstanding STEM education programs, each proven to build interest and improve the achievement of our kids in the STEM fields, are being implemented through the state.

There are computer programming contests, agricultural experiments, wind turbine modeling, family STEM festivals, robotics clubs and more. They are happening more often than not in the most STEM-deprived areas of Iowa, thanks to the mission of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to level the field of opportunity for all Iowa youth.

Iowa’s rapid rise back to leadership in math and science education, with applications to engineering and technology, is an economic and social imperative. Once a leader on national tests, Iowa kids are closer to the middle of the pack these days.

In contrast, our economy depends ever increasingly on a steady stream of talent to drive our STEM-based industries, such as bioscience, information technology and advanced manufacturing, while our lives weave ever more tightly to STEM through health, parenting, energy and food decisions.

Continue reading about STEM related activities.

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