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STEM News Roundup: Fenway Park To Host Two STEM Events This Year

The Boston Red Sox and CITGO are hosting two STEM Day events that will expose students to different STEM concepts and technologies.

"CITGO will be inviting 500 elementary and middle school students to the STEM Days as part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline Program, joining a total of approximately 5,000 students who will take part in these days of fun, interactive STEM learning," according to a recent release.

The activities include a STEM fair in the pre-game session to help further promote the endless possibilities in the fields. There are also some hands-on events planned including an "egg-drop" that will fall from the top of the Green Monster. Finally, students have the chance to wind down by catching a Red Sox game, not to mention a robot will be the one throwing out the first pitch.

Learn more about Fenway Park's STEM Day events here.

iPraxis Aims To Change the STEM Society By Introducing Kids of Color to Science

Students of color face many hurdles when it comes to entry into STEM fields. The Philadelphia Citizen recently released a story that profiles the non-profit iPraxis and their attempt to help children of color propel further into the STEM fields.

"A study released in 2015 revealed that more than 80 percent of engineering, computing and advanced manufacturing jobs were held by white or Asian workers, compared to below 17 percent of African-American and Latino workers," according to the report. "And perhaps more importantly, underrepresented minorities—Latinos, Native Americans and African Americans—earn only 11 percent of college engineering degrees."

The numbers are quite troubling but iPraxis, led by Jeremiah White, an entrepreneur and consultant, who is also the board chairman of the Community College of Philadelphia, is aiming to change that. White along with other African American business leaders and members of the science community banded together to target a specific age-group where drop-out rates were higher for minorities and came up with ways to portray science and other STEM fields as fun and interesting. For White, it all boils down to what he calls "structural racism."

"I consider it to be structural racism," White said when it came to the factors that combine to keep minority kids out of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, according to the report.

"This is all part of combating that structural racism. It’s all led us to this point where we have so many young people who are not equipped to function in this new reality. They can’t pass the union tests because of the math. They can’t pass the police test because of the math. Our job is to try to convince them that yes, they can in fact do this."

You can learn more about iPraxis here.

Blind Chemist Helps Sightless Kids Learn STEM

Mona Minkara's vision began to gradually deteriorate at a young age. She was diagnosed with a combination of macular degeneration and cone rod dystrophy. Minkara is currently conducting post-doctoral research at Minnesota's chemistry department. The goal? Minkara intends on creating a STEM curriculum that is designed for blind children in developing countries.

"Minkara said she wants the STEM curriculum to be blind-accessible and low-cost. It will be implemented at a camp in Lebanon that has programs for both blind and sighted children," according to US News.

Minkara hopes to help them gain life skills and an interest in becoming the scientists of tomorrow. Together the team is working on ways to make experiments like a volcanic reaction "less visual than it usually is." The work is quite intense but Minkara hopes that her STEM curriculum will be a more inexpensive solution to others out there for blind students.

Learn more about Minkara and her team's journey here.

VR Takes Another Step to STEM Integration in the Classroom

For some students, reading a normal textbook can be pretty daunting and a bit boring. However, VictoryVR is trying to develop VR science books that could bring added fun into learning science. 

"Each VR 'book' incorporates virtual field trips, interactive games and learning activities, a 'theater' experience, a teacher demo of an experiment and access to online assessments," according to The Journal. "Each grade will have six books, for a total of 24 books in the library for grades 5 through 8."

The books will be compatible with the major VR devices and VR-friendly devices. These include the Oculus Rift, Samsung VR Gear and Apple iPhones. A payment of $5,000 will guarantee schools three-years of everything they will need from the VR books. 

Learn more about VictoryVR's virtual science books here.

 

Compiled by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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