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STEMtastic Showcase Fair set for Saturday

By Staff | Mar 24, 2011

The first STEMtastic Showcase Fair will be held this weekend at the Lee County Public Education Center to get students excited about STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.
Assistant Director for Curriculum Patti Elkin said the fair has been scheduled to put focus on STEM. She hopes the event will bring an awareness to the community of how important the STEM program is for students, along with providing an opportunity for the parents to get involved.
The Lee County School District partnered with The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools to put on the event for the students and families in the district.
The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Executive Director Marshall Bower said the fair coincides with one of their big initiatives of moving forward with STEM.
“We are a business-driven organization and my board has put that as a priority because that is the future of where our students need to be going if we are going to be competitive,” he said the learning focus..
Bower said the latest test scores show that “we are falling behind when we used to be the leader” to the rest of the world in terms of STEM. He said it is important to partner with the school district in offering the STEMtastic Showcase Fair because areas of technology are what is going to make Lee County students competitive in the global market.
The fair, he said will showcase what opportunities are available in STEM-related fields that will hopefully get students interested in the subjects.
“If kids understand that science, technology and math can be fun and relate to what they do every day, we can start turning around some of the falling behind that we are doing in this area,” Bower said.
The STEMtastic Showcase fair will have ongoing activities from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday in the four hallways at the Lee County Public Education Center for kindergarten through 12th grade students.
Tables, exhibits, virtual classrooms, outdoor and indoor activities and computer labs will be set up so students can learn more about the various subject areas. Some of the exhibits will include move that boat, biomedical, gumdrop bridge, what part of the plant are you eating, podcasting and CAD for jewelry design.
Each student will receive a passport when they arrive at the fair. When they finish going through the different booths they will receive a stamp that then will be taken to the foundation’s booth.
A scientist, engineer and mathematician will also be at the fair to answer any questions students may have. The keynote speaker for the fair will be Doug MacGregor.
Elkin said they wanted to make sure activities that the students were involved in could be brought home so conversations could be had between parents and students of what the children want to do when they grow up. She said they will have “make- and-take” activities to take with them.
The fair also will have door prizes of an iPad, iPod shuffle and different STEM type technology tools. The first 500 students who arrive at the event will receive a free bracelet that the foundation made.
Elkin said she hopes that they will have 500 students attend the event. She said she hopes to continue holding the STEMtastic Showcase Fair annually.