Local Students and Schools to Benefit from Free STEM Field Trips to the Orlando Science Center
The Duke Energy Foundation awarded a $75,000 grant to Orlando Science Center to allow more than 3,500 elementary school students participate in STEM- (science, technology, engineering and math) focused field trips free of charge. The program, now in its third year, is designed to excite students in Duke Energy’s service territory about fundamental engineering principles.
“Duke Energy is a valued community partner who understands the importance of engaging young people in STEM experiences now. Orlando Science Center is excited to continue our longstanding partnership with Duke Energy because it’s an investment that will pay off in big dividends for our community’s future,” Science Center President JoAnn Newman said. “Together, we can get kids excited about STEM concepts through hands-on, interactive labs and exhibits.”
Field trips will start with a 90-minute discovery lab in which students team up and design a bridge to withstand the heaviest load. After that, they venture to the exhibit floor to use the engineering design process they learned in the lab and follow specific criteria to solve problems. Working together, they will design, prototype and test their creations and compete in challenges among their peers.
“When we support STEM programs, we are helping build the energy workforce of the future,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy, state president – Florida. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Orlando Science Center, and to support the great work they do every day in getting our children motivated to learn.”
The Science Center will recruit schools from Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola, Polk and Volusia counties. The grant also enables the Science Center to host Title I schools aiding underserved and poverty-stricken youth. Field trips will start and run through the next academic year (2013 – 2014).
Duke Energy — and its antecedent, Progress Energy — have made substantial commitments to the Science Center over the years, totaling more than $720,000. The STEM field trips offered by the Science Center speak to Duke Energy Foundation’s direct areas of focus, specifically, K-12 STEM education.