One of our priorities is to find new ways to take Scouting into underserved neighborhoods. That mission gets even better when you can throw high technology into the mix!
The National Capital Area Council just launched its new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) van. The STEM van is a mobile classroom that will deliver scientific and mathematical educational programs to schools and young people throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. This full-size cargo van features a portable audio-visual system that can run programs on physics, biology, robotics, computer programming and other STEM-related topics for youth ages 6 to 18.
I really like this approach. NCAC Scout Executive Les Baron really hit the nail on the head with his council’s STEM philosophy when they created this “first of its kind” mobile classroom. “The Scouting program has always had a strong STEM component,” he said in the council’s press release. “By showing Scouts that even their favorite activities like archery and video games are based on math and science, Scouting helps encourage young people’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder.”
What makes the launch of this mobile STEM unit even better is the tremendous support of local business leaders, including General Dynamics, Lincoln Electric, the BSA National Foundation and Meg and Norm Augustine.
Mobile classrooms are a big hit with science centers, mass transit districts, and others for outreach to schools due to their specialized programs and flexibility in scheduling. These “classrooms on wheels” are growing in popularity as a way to bring “hands on” education to students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these teaching resources.
We can’t do enough to make sure our young people are getting the proper education and training in STEM career fields. Hats off to Les Baron and the NCAC for bringing the local business community on board to create this innovative Scouting tool that benefits so many young people. I hope the success of this mobile STEM classroom can be duplicated in other markets.
How do you promote STEM careers? What is your biggest challenge in helping young people get the STEM education they need, and would a mobile classroom help ease that burden? Let’s get together to create more solutions!