Elementary Institute of Science using 3-D printing, robots, and drones to spark interest in science
San Diego CA— According to a US Department of Education study, only 28% of high school freshmen express any interest in science or show a desire to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). A local provider of science education is fighting to buck this national trend, with technology as its weapon of choice.
The Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) is offering a 3-day camp during the Thanksgiving school break that will have young students engaged in some pretty sophisticated technology. Students in 2nd and 3rd grades, for example, will be learning the basics of 3-D printing. Robotics and engineering will be the focus for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades while 7th and 8th graders will be learning to program drones that can fly by themselves.
EIS is providing engaging technology experiences for students with the goal of increasing the number of people interested in pursuing STEM careers.
The lack of interest in science among students does not bode well for San Diego, which needs a significant number of STEM workers to sustain its tech sector. According to a 2018 study, the region’s various technology companies contributed $55 billion to the local economy.
In the past five years, local employment in the life science industry increased 20 percent. The industry currently employs 50,000 people and supports an additional 133,000 jobs in San Diego County. In response to our growing STEM industry, the San Diego Economic Development Corporation recently launched a program called Advancing San Diego that seeks to solve the local skilled worker shortages. Igniting the interest of STEM in students so they pursue these in demand careers is a necessary first step for this program to succeed. EIS has been igniting that interest for decades with hands-on learning programs.
STEM careers can serve as a pathway to upward financial mobility. Jobs in the STEM field pay more than double the median income among all occupations, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. High paying jobs are especially vital to offset the high cost of housing and keeping skilled workers in the San Diego region.