STEM Community Outreach
KAUA‘I IN STEP (KIS)
STEP is an acronym for Science & Technology Education Partnership. KAUA‘I IN STEP is an initiative designed to inspire our students toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It patterns itself after a very successful effort in Riverside, California.
The California STEP program, which has been in existence for over six years, began with the combined efforts of the Riverside community’s Congressman Ken Calvert, industry and members in the school district. It consisted of an annual industry-sponsored science show with exhibits and teacher workshops.
Likewise, Team Tech Kaua‘i, a partnership between government, business and industry, education and the community, established KAUA‘I IN STEP to conduct STEM activities for Kaua‘i’s students.
WHY KAUA‘I IN STEP ?
The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands and other technology companies on Kaua‘i need qualified employees. The primary goal of KAUA‘I IN STEP is to instill an active interest in the fields of science and technology.
What initiated this effort?
We anticipate the availability of many jobs in approved and proposed high-tech projects on Kaua‘i. We also sense the urgency to prepare our children to qualify for these jobs through support programs in education. We believe that STEM education fulfills a vital national security interest.
Who participates in KAUA‘I IN STEP ?
The current focus is on students in the fourth through eighth grades as they begin to formulate career goals. Evidence suggests that two-thirds of all children will decide to pursue STEM as a career/education interest before age 13. KAUA‘I IN STEP plans events and offer activities to encourage students in these younger grade levels to pursue education and career goals in high-tech fields.
In the first two years (2004-05), the annual KAUA‘I IN STEP Science Show by General Atomics reached nearly every student on the island in the target age, 5400 students, with visual and dynamic value-added science demonstrations enhancing existing science curricula. We continue these shows annually, and expanded the program with great demand on Oahu beginning in 2011.
Highlights of the show include demonstrations of familiar states of matter, liquid nitrogen, and the coldest volcano and longest plasma on Kaua‘i , all presented in a colorful and exciting format. “We’ll bring a few props that some of the older students could make as a project, because we’re hoping they’ll be inspired to tinker with things, and their teachers will encourage them after seeing the show,” said Rick Lee of General Atomics, co-host of the science show.
--The Garden Island Newspaper
Outside the auditorium, interactive exhibits awaited curious students. From racing solar powered cars, to producing enough energy on a bicycle to power a blender to the completion of a smoothie, students were walked through the concepts of “observe, think and do” the basic structure for successful science experiments.
The KAUA‘I IN STEP program, is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science, math, engineering and technology and judging by the attendance and the screams of students from the sensory overload the KIS Science Show was successful.