Sparking the imagination with science and Star Wars at the Orlando Science Center #CFLGood

My son dreams of becoming an engineer when he grows up. Technically, if you ask, he’ll just tell you he wants to build roads. And buildings. And ships. And robots. Maybe space ships. Definitely a bigger, safer Titanic. Fueled by books and educational TV shows (they do exist), ideas for new designs seem to burst from his imagination each day.  He breaks out his roll of paper or borrows reams from my office so he can carefully draw out his plans. With old wooden blocks or gallons of Legos he brings his visions to life like a modern day young DaVinci—if DaVinci built his models from colorful, interlocking plastic blocks.

My kid dreams big. Entire ports, ocean liners, cityscapes, and transportation systems seem to spring from his fingertips.  Transferring his enthusiasm, his passion into the classroom is challenging; multiplication tables and math factors just aren’t exciting, but he’ll need a strong background in math and science for his dreams to become his reality.

Education is the gateway to opportunity. That’s why one of our favorite places to visit in Central Florida is the Orlando Science Center.

 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is considered the cornerstone to our prosperity as a nation. As the world’s economy continues to be increasingly fueled by knowledge and innovation, it is vital that the workforce be well-educated in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. With that said, the United States is in the middle of a STEM crisis.

The Orlando Science Center is taking a stand in the efforts to revitalize STEM education in our community. Through informal science learning, kids can take interest in STEM fields through fun, engaging ways. By simply generating excitement for science everyone can win, as a child takes this new found appreciation and explores it at home and school.

The need for a strong, STEM-educated workforce is greater than it’s ever been. The percentage of science and engineering degrees awarded annually peaked in the 1960′s.

Locally, the problem is even more magnified: only 20% of the degrees awarded in Central Florida are based in STEM fields, compared to 30% nationally.

To put it in perspective, 60 percent of the new jobs created this century will require skills that only 20 percent of the current workforce possesses. Jobs now and in the future will depend on the bright minds of today’s youth in these subjects. In fact, 28 of the 30 fastest growing occupations projected for 2018 require strong proficiency in the skills of math and science.

Our ultimate goal at the Science Center is to create a STEM-centered community that paves the way towards excellence in science, technology, engineering and math. Exploring these critical areas in an informal way can be fun, exciting and even inspiring.

Our kids don’t want lectures. They thrive on interaction and entertainment. Hand-on, fun learning is vital to keep kids interested and intrigued. That’s why we love the Orlando Science Center.

OSC is one of the top hands-on science centers in the country. Featuring four floors of interactive exhibits and live programs, it provides a full day of entertainment and learning about everything from natural science to the high-tech world of simulation technology.

Kids (and parents) can build dams and channels at water tables (my kiddo’s fav), stare into the jaws of a T. rex, take to the air in F1-11  and F-16 flight simulators, get up close to native alligators and snakes, play a life-sized game of Operation, or control a Mars Rover.

The CineDome theater doesn’t just “show” movies. You can watch and experience the destructive power of a tornado at point blank range or take a visually explosive, sensory expanding voyage into space on its enormous screen (measuring 8,000 square feet!).

You can catch one of the planetarium shows, laser light shows, or view the cosmos via the Crosby Observatory, home to one of the state’s largest publicly accessible refractor telescopes.

AND coming soon. . .this has our family just buzzing with excitement:

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination
October 13, 2012 through April 7, 2013
May the Force be with you as you explore the blockbuster large scale exhibit celebrating the Star Wars® legacy and its impact on real-world science! It is the first exhibition to display costumes and props from all six Star Wars films with real-world technologies. The exhibit includes extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers; and hands-on components, including two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test their own speeders and robots.
For more information on the exhibit, please visit: www.mos.org/starwars.
 Star Wars + science + kids = WIN

Not only is OSC an amazing resource for locals, but it should be on the itinerary of every family visiting Orlando. Need a day off from the hectic theme parks, some time to relax, hide from the heat or rain, or crowds and lines? Hit the Science Center. You will have fun.

The Orlando Science Center is a private non-profit organization with 501c(3) status. As part of the Blogging For Good Campaign, Central Florida bloggers are spreading the word about local charities and non-profits that benefit our community. Want to help? Buy a raffle ticket for this AMAZING Star Wars themed basket filled with:

  • 4 Open Guest Passes to the Orlando Science Center
  • Two tickets to the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination VIP Preview on Friday, October 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (This VIP Preview is the first opportunity for anyone to experience the exhibit at the Science Center!)
  • Rubix Cube Stress Reliever
  • True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways – Written by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
  • OSC Otronicon “Level Up” T-Shirt
  • OSC Coffee Mug/Beaker (it’s got measurements on it resembling a beaker – it’s awesome)
  • Command Line Mouse Pad
  • 2 Anakin Skywalker Lightsabers
  • Star Wars Minatures: Rebels and Imperials
  • Star Wars: STAR TOURS G2-9T
  • Star Wars: STAR TOURS SK-Z38
  • Star Wars 2007 Vintage Coin Set
  • Star Wars: STAR TOURS Boarding Party – STAR TOURS Officer, Kaink, Teek, Ree-Yees, Chewbacca (Set is Limited Edition of 15,000)
  • Star Wars Destroyer Droid
  • Star Wars Miniatures: Princess Leia – Attack on Endor

Any Star Wars fan (age 5 to 95) would be over the moon if they won those goodies. Maybe I’ll buy two tickets… Each raffle ticket is just $10 and can be obtained here. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the nonprofit, so it’s a win-win!

OSC website: http://www.osc.org/
OSC Twitter: https://twitter.com/orlandoscience
OSC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/orlandosciencecenter
Blogging for Good: http://www.cflbloggingforgood.com/

**Please help spread the word about this important cause. Tweet, Facebook, Pin, and share this post. You can make a difference.

I am writing this as part of a contest for the CFL Blog Conference and the Rollins Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center.  I stand 100% behind the The Orlando Science Center.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge