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Raising Enthusiasm for STEM, While Supporting Schools’ Technology Needs

Sep 27, 2017, 10:54 AM

Earlier today, I conducted a focus group of one – my son – a kindergartener who wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Why? Because “I love teachers.” While his favorite time in the school day is “Let’s Move” time on the patio, he also loves science, math, computer time and music. Why? Through science, “If you don’t know how something works, you can learn.” For math it’s simple, “I like to solve problems.” On the computer, “I can play games;” games that he doesn’t realize are educational and enrich the lessons he learned earlier in the day. And music, well that’s no surprise as he and his friends get together regularly for “Crazy Band” practice.

Many people – including teachers – have told me, “Your son is going to be an engineer.” I can see that – he is constantly building things using all sorts of random household items and masking tape – lots of masking tape. But I can also see him becoming a science teacher, a software developer, or maybe even a rockstar.  After all, he’s in kindergarten and we daydream about every possibility.

But one thing is for sure – my son is excited by STEM subjects, as well as the arts. To support his success in school and life, we plan to nurture both, seeking opportunities for him to exercise his left and right brain. Already, our teachers have suggested we enrich his educational experience with family outings and extracurricular programs that encourage him to observe, analyze, and create.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow program does just that – and more. As a proud nonprofit partner, National PTA supports Samsung’s goals to raise enthusiasm for STEM education, demonstrate how STEM can positively impact our local communities, and reduce the technology gap in classrooms.

To enter, teachers consider how students can apply science, technology, engineering and math to help improve a problem or need in their local community.  Teachers must consider how they would engage and encourage enthusiastic student participation. Teachers must also describe the technology needs of their school. The program is open to all public school teachers in grades 6-12 throughout the 50 United States and Washington, DC. The deadline to enter is 11:59:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, October 31, 2013.

We suggest local PTAs encourage and support teachers interested in participating in this program for two reasons. First, National PTA believes STEM education must remain a national priority in the U.S., as it has become increasingly apparent that U.S. students are not advancing in math and science at the same pace as in other countries.

Second, we believe technology improves personalized learning and provides new opportunities for family engagement. That’s why PTAs across the country help to raise funds for improving technology in schools. Every day across the country, PTAs commit to bringing community resources that improve learning to their partner schools– and this partnership is a great example of that commitment. As part of Solve for Tomorrow, Samsung is giving away more than $2 million in technology to 255 schools nationwide.

Last year, National PTA was honored to attend Samsung’s event in Washington, DC to celebrate the five grand prize winning schools. Watch the highlights from this inspiring event.

We sat in the audience mesmerized at the incredible teamwork and innovation demonstrated by all of the winning student teams. But we were especially proud of the teams that highlighted the support received from their local PTAs to participate in the program.

Watch the short videos created by the student teams to show how they worked together to solve an environmental problem using STEM.

Now help National PTA encourage teachers to apply. Spread the word!

Madison Amador of Leewood K-8 Center reads aloud from the Congressional Record presented to the Leewood students for winning Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow challenge in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol, April 2013. – See more at: www.samsung.com/solve.


Mary Pat King, MS is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at National PTA.