In the wake of STEM education reform in the nation’s public school system, grooming future scientists, engineers and technologists will help the country move towards its innovative grassroots. However, missing from the STEM equation is entrepreneurship; the core avenue for taking new products and ideas to the marketplace. Hence, STEM education + E = STEEM.
Melissa Rose, the creator of Biz in a Boxx and Sherri Smith-Dodgson, Miss Science, have recognized the need to teach the next generation how to integrate STEM subjects and business acumen together through their “Science, Innovation & Entrepreneurship” programs at the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, AZ.
A total of six workshops have been designed to bring STEM subjects and 21st century skills together for kids ages six to 13. The workshops include “Germology, ” where kids learn the science behind germs and then create their own hand sanitizer product to sell. “Sugarology – The Sweet Science of Candy” teaches these young innovators about centrifugal force and friction by making cotton candy and taffy, packaging and how to make their own business website. The free classes, which are held at the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale have been filled to capacity with eager learners absorbing the wonders of science and business.
“I never thought of the importance of putting science and entrepreneurship together, but it makes perfect sense. My daughter gets to see how they work hand in hand, ” says Michelle Grauman whose 10-year-old daughter attended a workshop in January and has signed up for the remainder.
During President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, STEM education was at the forefront of reform while tales of the nation’s promising entrepreneurs were used to depict the need to foster entrepreneurship to grow the economy. Yet there was no mention of how these disciplines work together or that one does not happen without the other.
The majority of today’s youth will graduate from high school with little or no business knowledge or experience. High youth unemployment rates simply exacerbate the problem and delay professional development and advancement. “If we’re really looking to grow the economy long-term, then it’s imperative that we start to teach entrepreneurship, beginning at the primary school level, ” Rose says.
Both Rose and Smith-Dodgson believe STEEM education should begin in elementary school. “Kids have the ability to absorb multiple concepts, especially if they can see the relevancy behind them, ” Smith-Dodgson cites. “There’s no reason why these concepts are not introduced to kids at an early age.”
The “Science, Innovation & Entrepreneurship” workshops run through March 2011, but it’s likely that the duo will add more and expand nationally due to the overwhelmingly positive response they’ve received.
About Biz in a Boxx
Biz in a Boxx™ (bizinaboxx.com) is designed to teach kids, starting at age seven, the practical fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Not weighed down in theories or unattainable tips, Biz in a Boxx™ aims to give kids complete ownership over their ideas while developing them into products and services they can take to the marketplace. Biz in a Boxx™ comes in three versions: CEO Prodigy (ages 7 to 10); CEO Apprentice (ages 11-14); and, the CEO (ages 15 and up.) They retail between $40 to $60.
About Miss Science
Sherri Smith Dodgson, “Miss Science” (discoverscience4kids.com), is the founder of Discover Science 4 Kids, a science educational outreach program that gets young kids interested in science through hands-on application. A former science teacher, Smith-Dodgson works with organizations to develop science clubs and camps through her tested, science curriculum.