First lady Melania Trump highlighted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education last week with a visit to the youth-focused STEM Center of Innovation at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. Serving 200 children of military personnel, contractors and civilians living and working on the installation, the Center is a partnership between Boys & Girls Club of America and Raytheon, and focuses specifically on hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) projects. The initiative continues its rapid expansion with 14 centers in planning or operation to date. The centers accommodate students in kindergarten through sixth grade, before and after school.
The first lady is expected to formally roll out her official platform in the coming weeks and many believe last week's visit signals an emphasis on promoting STEM education, already a formal priority for first daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump. STEM-related jobs have grown at three times the rate of other jobs over the last decade, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In line with the expanding focus, particularly engaging students through interactive modules and hands-on STEM activities, Microduino has released the latest version of its mPuzzle magnetic components kit. The educational kits, already adopted by many school science labs, teach basic circuitry to kids using association with everyday items. Through 12 different projects, the mPuzzle kit offers step-by-step learning that teaches basic circuitry to young children or anyone looking to learn the key principles of electronics.
"It is critical to inspire today's kids early in the process," said Bin Feng, CEO of Microduino. "STEM offers a whole host of rewarding careers and sets the stage for the next generation of engineers and scientists."
mPuzzle uses real-world applications that encourage STEM skills and critical thinking through association. The snap-together components can be used to build functioning projects including a traffic light, flash light and light that is triggered on with sunlight. Kits provide step-by-step instruction and everything needed to construct each project, or acts as a repository of components to create other projects following one's creativity.
Learning kits designed specifically for classroom learning were also recently launched with a waiting list from the Iste 2017 (International Society for Technology in Education) in San Antonio.
"When components are so absolutely simple to use," said Feng, "all that remains is the imagination of the inventor. This is an empowerment that we are intent on passing on to the next generation of American innovators—tomorrow's process disruptors."