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STEM News Roundup: New NASCAR Learning Program, Chevron Donating $130M

This week in STEM education news, we see big names like NASCAR, Scholastic, the Dow Chemical Company, and Chevron donating large amounts of money and making big leaps into STEM-focused K-12 programs. 

Meanwhile, a case study in Montana shows rapid growth in K-12 STEM education, and a young girl at a juvenile correction facility in Wyoming found a love for computer coding, which has brought a newfound peace to her life.

 

NASCAR Partnered With Scholastic For STEM Learning Program 

NASCAR and Scholastic recently announced Acceleration Nation, a learning program that will use NASCAR to teach students about math and science.

“Specifically, the program will focus on NASCAR’s Three D’s of Speed: Drag, Downforce and Drafting,” reported PC Magazine. During the first year of the program, NASCAR will distribute 7,400 kits for elementary and middle school students, and additional materials can be found at AccerlationNation.com.

Brent Dewart, the COO of NASCAR, said in a statement: “NASCAR Acceleration Nation is about bringing kids closer to our sport in an entertaining and educational way. When you look at the speed and design of our racecars and their performance on the track, NASCAR represents a unique platform to teach math and science.”

 

Student At Juvenile Justice Facility Finds Passion in Computer Coding

Shawnee is a fourteen-year-old girl at the Wyoming Girl’s School, a facility in Wyoming for court-ordered delinquent girls, who discovered a sense of peace in learning about and working with computer code. Her story was featured on air during the Marketplace Morning Report.

Host David Brancaccio has been reporting on “education in America’s juvenile justice system with thousands of young men and women in secure facilities falling through the cracks.”

“Many come in to the justice system already far behind in school,” Brancaccio reports. “But there’s hope that technology might help get young people caught up.” “My grandma always told me that if you’re doing something you love, you’re at peace with yourself. And when I think about coding, and do coding, I’m at peace with myself,” Shawnee told Marketplace. “Sometimes I get really stressed out, with all the things that are going on in my life. And when I code I realize it helps me think about that, and not about the things I can’t change. It also reminds me that there are things I can change, and that even when it’s hard to overcome obstacles, you can.”

 

State of Montana Sees Rapid STEM Education Growth

Robbie Reynold reported for KPAX News on how Montana educators are trying to improve the state’s performance in math and science.

“Children with a passion for science, technology, engineering and math - often referred to as STEM - can be found around Western Montana - including plenty of them at events like a recent robotics competition at Hellgate Elementary School,” reported Reynold. “Based on Chamber of Commerce data, Montana is tenth in the nation in STEM growth. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.”

 

Chevron To Donate $130 Million to STEM Education

Over the next three years, Chevon gas conglomerate will donate $130 million to fund STEM education. In 2015, they will commit $30 million to STEM-related program.s “Chevron is an engineering company at heart, and needs well-qualified people in the workforce to hire as part of their team today and in the future,” Blair Blackwell, Chevron’s manager of education and corporate programs, told Tim Bajarin at TIME magazine. “Chevron’s backing of various STEM programs around the world comes from over 100 years of early workforce development commitment,” reports Bajarin. “As one of the biggest companies in the world, Chevron needs to have an educated talent pool to draw from at all times.”

 

Dow Chemical Co and Project Lead The Way Team Up To Fund Education Programs

The Dow Chemical Company and the nonprofit Project Lead The Way announced a partnership to increase K-12 student’s access to quality STEM education programs. “Through a $400,000 commitment, Dow will fund PLTW programs in 17 schools in Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania,” a press release reported. “These 17 schools enroll more than 14,000 students, and about half of these students are minority students.”

“Through its STEMtheGAP initiatives, Dow’s STEM mission is to built the workforce of tomorrow by supporting teachers, motivating student achievement, developing careers, and collaborating with communities to transform STEM education into a driver for innovation, manufacturing, and economic prosperity.”

 

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

2/24/2015

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