Science project ideas have come a long way since the old days of baking soda volcanos and dinosaur dioramas. The Toshiba-sponsored and NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) administered K-12 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) competition, ExploraVision, offers kids an inquiry-based, hands-on scientific learning experience designed for students.
ExploraVision is a science competition that encourages teachers to make science and technology an exciting part of their curriculum. K-12 students of all skill levels work in small groups to simulate real research and development. Students work collaboratively to develop their ideas. They then research and explore the science and technology of their topic. The students have an opportunity to imagine what that technology might be like in 10 or more years.
Past winners have envisioned technologies ranging from a hand-held food allergen detector to a new device to help people who have lost limbs regain movement in real time. Through these innovative and fun scientific learning experiences, kids are discovering new passions and envisioning what a career in technology might be like. Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision helps students build their problem solving and critical thinking skills, work collaboratively, successfully communicate, and perhaps most importantly, have a great “A-Ha!” moment organically within an educational environment.
Unlike science fairs, ExploraVision not only helps young kids expand their imagination at a critical early stage, it also offers more mature students a critical thinking and problem solving skill learning experiences that is central to the Next Generation Science Standard. If you’d like to find out more about how to get your kids or students involved, click here.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the “global achievement gap,” that is, the difference between what our students are learning in school and what they’ll actually need to succeed after graduation. More often than not, technology, science, and engineering are the primary topics of discussion. Parents are wondering now more than ever if their children will be able to compete on a global level.
Since there’s no way to know what jobs will be like in the future, we should shift our focus to inspiring young minds. This is where programs like Toshiba-sponsored and NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)-administered ExploraVision come into play. ExploraVision is a science and technology competition that inspires kids to make science fun for themselves. Students of all skill levels work in small groups to simulate real scientific and technological research and development. The students collaboratively come up with their ideas and then research and explore their technology of interest as a team.
Although science competitions among middle school and high school students are common, ExploraVision is unique because it includes all K-12 students. The hands-on program concentrates on inspiring young minds to tap into their own creativity, use critical-thinking and problem solving skills. By developing their own ideas and envisioning new technology, students are taking the science fair model to a whole new level. With its multi-level, imaginative, and fun approach to learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects, Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision is designed to appeal to a broad range of students of all interests, skills, and ability levels.
At its most advanced, ExploraVision participants are creating real, innovative technologies that may benefit us all. Perhaps one of the most impressive cases is the 2013 ExploraVision 1st place national winners who hailed from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, CA. This tech-savvy group of high school students developed an “Immunotargeted DNA-based nanostructures for the delivery of the pro-angiogenic VEGF protein to revascularize infarcted myocardium.” In less scientific terms, these teenagers came up with a way to revascularize damaged heart tissue after a heart attack! If STEM education continues in this astounding direction, the global achievement gap may close sooner than we imagined. That’s the power of inspiration.