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The Discovery is pleased to announce that its field trip program has been approved for inclusion on the Nevada STEM Advisory Council’s list of recommended STEM programs. The announcement, made on October 19, 2017 by the Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT), honored sixteen evidence-based, high-quality STEM programs in the state. Each program was thoroughly evaluated by a group of trained, Nevada-based reviewers according to a Nevada-specific rubric. The Discovery and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are the only two Nevada-based organizations that made the list.
“STEM provides students with real-world skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork that are necessary to become capable employees and thoughtful citizens. We hope this list will serve to increase quality and quantity of STEM education children receive in Nevada,” said Mark Newburn, Co-chair of the Nevada STEM Advisory Council and Vice President of the Nevada State Board of Education.
The Discovery’s field trip program, led by Curriculum Developer Meghan Schiedel, served more than 17,000 Pre-K through 8th grade students during the 2016-2017 academic year. School groups visiting The Discovery find that the field trip program creates excitement for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) concepts, and develops skills such as scientific reasoning, collaboration and observation. Exploring the museum’s hands-on galleries offers students and their teachers an opportunity to foster curiosity, develop content knowledge and build confidence in learning.
To do this, the field trip program develops and offers schools a choice of at least ten Discovery Labs (45-minute lessons) tied to Common Core and Nevada Academic Content Standards in Science (NACSS) each academic year. Each Lab is designed to address a different STEM concept or skill and includes hands-on activities that inspire creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving. By providing educator resources such as pre- and post-lesson plans for each Lab, The Discovery also gives teachers the opportunity to observe best practices in standards-based STEAM instruction.
“I am very impressed with the programs that made the Council’s list. This list of recommended STEM programs will be a great resource for both the State and for our schools to guide funding decisions toward programs that have demonstrated rigor in content, evaluation, replicability, and sustainability,” said Brian Mitchell, Director of OSIT.
The Discovery’s field trip program aspires to continue its growth and impact, with a goal of serving another 48,000 students and 1,800 teachers over the next three years. Since launching in September 2011, The Discovery has already served more than 74,000 students through hands-on, inquiry based field trips. To help make this reach possible, The Discovery has partnered with several local donors to increase access to field trip experiences for low-income schools from the Washoe County School District by covering the costs of bus transportation to and from The Discovery, and offering reduced or free admission through underwritten financial assistance.
While inclusion on the Nevada STEM Advisory Council’s list of recommended STEM programs doesn’t guarantee funding, the list is a resource for private philanthropy, State agencies, and local school districts. As a leader in STEM learning opportunities, The Discovery joins a national list of recommended STEM programs that offer another opportunity for Nevada schools to obtain support for STEM learning in an already challenged financial situation. The Discovery is excited to embark on this next evolution in its Field Trip Program to ensure wider access to hands-on STEM learning for the greater Northern Nevada region.
Your support helps make exciting learning opportunities like The Discovery’s field trip program possible for thousands of youth in our community. For more information, read the full press release about the list of recommended STEM programs from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.