Companies, museums, school programs celebrate STEM Day at Capitol

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 4:28 PM EDT
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By: Brittany Bedi | WCTV Eyewitness News

April 16, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Science and technology were on full display at the Florida Capitol Tuesday for STEM Day.

Companies partnered with museums and STEM school programs across the state to highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and math.

School STEM programs showed off their competitive robotics teams. The Western High School STEM program showed off robots that were built and programmed by students. Some students were able to control their robots with their cell phones or game controllers. The school also drove their award-winning solar-powered car around the Capitol courtyard.

Mike Walker is a STEM Educator at Western High School in Davie, FL.

"STEM education is such an engaging and fun endeavor. There's so much that kids could do with their time. Once you connect a kid into the STEM field, they find using a lot of their extra time, and they want to get involved," said Walker. "The kinds of things we're trying to do for kids is get industry certifications in robotics or pre-engineering and they can use those certifications they can get in high school in the industry right away and they can build up their repertoire and resumes or they can go to college too."

Science museums were well-represented in the Capitol as well. The Tallahassee Museum brought a barred owl and spoke with visitors about the owl's diet.

The museum also had owl pellets for people to dissect and identify. The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa brought a robot that solved a Rubick's cube and animal bone displays. The Florida Aquarium had a submersible robot on display that was built by girls in their Mission Tampa Bay program.

The Orlando Science Center hosted multiple displays of drones, 3D printing, and a life-sized version of 'Angry Birds' for a lesson in physics.

"It's just really great to promote this kind of collaboration as we come together to engage our legislators and our community in hands-on science learning," said Jeff Stanford, vice president of marketing at Orlando Science Center. "We work to show how industry, and education, and museums are partnering together to make these experiences come alive and really understand why they're important to success- not just individual success- but our success as a state and as a nation."

While at the Capitol, school STEM programs highlight the importance of STEM for future grant programs as well, to keep the state competitive in a technologically-advanced world.