Raptors STEM Program
Welcome to the Raptors STEM program page where you can view and discover the exciting events, field trips and activities that our organization has participated in as well as some great STEM related news and articles.
Our mission is to build a 1st class STEM program that focuses on exposing, educating and inspiring our young ladies and gentlemen in STEM based activities and functions.
Background and Events
Below you will find some background information on STEM as well as some of the exciting events that the Raptor Academy has participated in and our up coming events!
What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives. Engineering is the basic designs of roads and bridges, but also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and environmentally-friendly changes to our home. Mathematics is in every occupation, every activity we do in our lives. By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully pursue a job in a STEM field. A curriculum that is STEM-based has real-life situations to help the student learn about opportunities and how the concepts relate to life in order to hopefully spark a passion for a future career in a STEM field. STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for the student. Making math and science both fun and interesting helps the student to do much more than just learn.
Though the United States has historically been a leader in these fields, fewer students have been focusing on these topics recently. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. Currently, nearly 28 percent of high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-related field, a department website says, but 57 percent of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate from high school.
The goal is to get American students from the middle of the pack in science and math to the top of the pack in the international arena.
What separates STEM from the traditional science and math education is the blended learning environment and showing students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teaches students computational thinking and focuses on the real world applications of problem solving. As mentioned before, STEM education begins while students are very young:
Elementary school — STEM education focuses on the introductory level STEM courses, as well as awareness of the STEM fields and occupations. This initial step provides standards-based structured inquiry-based and real world problem-based learning, connecting all four of the STEM subjects. The goal is to pique students’ interest into them wanting to pursue the courses, not because they have to. There is also an emphasis placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities.
Middle school — At this stage, the courses become more rigorous and challenging. Student awareness of STEM fields and occupations is still pursued, as well as the academic requirements of such fields. Student exploration of STEM related careers begins at this level, particularly for underrepresented populations.
High school — The program of study focuses on the application of the subjects in a challenging and rigorous manner. Courses and pathways are now available in STEM fields and occupations, as well as preparation for post-secondary education and employment. More emphasis is placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM opportunities.
Who benefits from STEM?
STEM education helps to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields. Initiatives have been established to increase the roles of women and minorities in STEM-related fields. STEM education breaks the traditional gender roles.
Having activities that show real-life implication of STEM can pull together the ideas presented and help to show how they benefit our society and even our world as a whole. Children can see that what they are learning now is pertinent to their future and the future of the whole world, creating an interest often lacking when learning new concepts that do not seem to carry real-world application.
Raptor STEM Events
The 6th annual Discovery Day at AT&T Park
There will be hundreds of hands-on activities, opportunities to meet local scientists and engineers and plenty of fun and educational entertainment. The entire ballpark is packed to the rafters with science content: on the field, at every entry/exit, and every level of the ballpark. Get ready to unleash your inner scientist.