Middle school children from two Southern California school districts were able to unleash their inner Einsteins and participate in a regional science fair thanks to a new pilot program funded by Broadcom Foundation.
Broadcom Foundation contributed more than $80,000 in grants to provide project-based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning for underprivileged middle school students in the after-school space. The foundation led a coordinated initiative with THINK Together, one of California’s largest providers of extended day learning programs, the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair (OCSEF) and the Discovery Science Center to train THINK Together program leaders who in turn educated and empowered their students to engage in scientific inquiry on projects that they chose on the Science Buddies website.
As a result of this initiative, 22 middle schoolers from the Tustin, Calif. and Santa Ana, Calif. school districts exhibited their projects at the 57th annual Orange County Science & Engineering Fair on April 10. Experimenting with bubbles, stain removers, plants and Skittles, the THINK Together kids were able go beyond textbook learning and shine as budding scientists.
“Hands-on project-based STEM education is a critical component to the United States regaining its competitive edge, which is why our foundation is focusing on after-school programs and informal learning spaces like science centers,” said Paula Golden, Executive Director, Broadcom Foundation. “By using the concentrated blocks of time outside the traditional classroom day, students can dig into a project of personal interest with the assistance of a trained program leader, transforming their viewpoint on science and engineering in a remarkably short period of time.”