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Stem News Roundup: Trump Administration Makes Strides To Promote Gender Diversity In Stem

Stem News Roundup: Trump Administration Makes Strides To Promote Gender Diversity In Stem

The gender gap in STEM fields is one of the most discussed topics in education. There have been a number of private and federal initiatives introduced over the past few years that have aimed to buck this trend, including one this week. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed two laws that push for the increased involvement of girls and women in STEM. 

"The Inspire Act directs NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls, and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace," according to CNET. "The law gives NASA three months to present two congressional committees with its plans for getting staff -- think astronauts, scientists and engineers -- in front of girls studying STEM in elementary and secondary schools."

Trump also signed the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, which "authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at women."

Both acts aim to inspire gender diversity and also speak to gender equality in STEM fields.

Learn more about the acts here.

Afterschool STEM Programs Bridge The Skills Gap In The U.S.

A STEM Ready America event has shared critical findings from a study that proves STEM afterschool programs are a big help when it comes to increasing the interest in STEM fields.

According to the study, "80 percent of students reported a positive gain in their science career knowledge, 78 percent experienced a positive change in their self-reported interest in science, 72 percent reported an increase in their perseverance and critical thinking skills" and "73 percent reported an increase in 'STEM identity'—a personal belief that he/she can do well and succeed at science."

These STEM afterschool programs help students learn the significance of having these skills in terms of the job opportunities that will be available in their future. Preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow is exactly the kind of reinforcement they get from these programs, which build upon knowledge they obtain from the classroom experience. 

Find out more about the impact STEM afterschool programs have on students here.

Teachers Inspire A Classroom Adaptation of The Martian

Aside from the popular film that derived from it, The Martian novel is full of information that teachers can use to spice up their science classes. The only problem was, there was far too much profanity in the novel to expose it to children. 

After receiving so many messages from teachers who really wanted to use the novel as a teaching aid, author Andy Weir and his publisher decided to offer a more classroom-friendly edition of the book, according to The New York Times. 

Now students in science classes are reproducing experiments in the novel, such as separating hydrogen and oxygen from water. Educators believe that The Martian eliminates the somewhat dry and boring feeling that science textbooks can have.

Read more about The Martian's impact in the classroom here.

Teachers Compete For Science Project Funding Thanks To A Former Astronaut

Leland Melvin is a former NASA astronaut who is judging a new teacher competition. For the competition, teachers will be able to submit ideas for projects that will foster student learning in math and science subjects. The five winners will receive $5,000 to help fund their projects.

"My parents were educators who inspired me and so many others to reach for the stars," said Melvin, in a statement, according to Space. 

"I want to honor their legacy by partnering with DonorsChoose.org and Science Everywhere to help unlock these teachers' great science ideas, to inspire our next generation of STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math] explorers."

You can learn more about the competition here.

 

Compiled by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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