Many may have heard the attempts to shift U.S. education increasingly toward STEM education: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics focused classrooms and programs. A big prompt for this movement is the growth of technology in our society with a lack of qualified professionals to move forward. While many professions may be interchangeable, it is difficult for individuals without a STEM degree to enter a STEM field. STEM degrees, however, transfer into skills in non-STEM related fields – at least, that’s been the established belief.
Importance of the Arts
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The arts are not exclusively just the visual arts. Instead, the term arts encompass language and literary arts, fine arts, practical arts, as well as ties to integrate social sciences into the sciences category – hence the “why and by whom things are done” . The STEM movement has produced a sort of counter movement vying for the preservation of traditional aspects, and even the accentuation of aspects that have fallen by the wayside, of emphasizing the importance of art and history in the creative decision-making process. Indeed, creativity is a crucial facet when it comes to technology and engineering. Incorporation of the social sciences and arts into STEM through STEAM would promise a more flexible K-12 education that provides a wide pathway that gears students for success in post-secondary education within most fields.
Well-Rounded or Spear?
Two terms that come in focus in the minds of students, parents, and educators are the concepts of a “well-rounded” student and a student who is a “spear”. Essentially, these terms contrast how a student highlights their interests in a specific direction. A STEM education might mold a student into more of a spear, while a STEAM education is more well-rounded. There has been a shift in preference amongst universities and employers to candidates that seem like spears – is this bad news for STEAM? Not necessarily. Of course, a candidate who is a specialist or expresses mastery in their respective field is ideal. For students who know that STEM is their passion, a STEM program is the ideal solution for them. However, it is best to think of STEAM as an initiative that would work great in synergy with STEM programs. STEAM is an important way to expose students to the concepts of engineering, sciences and mathematics, that have an affinity for the arts and social sciences. It gives students hands-on opportunities to see how letting their creativity flourish can have profound impacts in
advancing technology. While STEM programs are receiving investment by the Department of Education, the introduction of STEAM programs doesn’t have such a jumpstart . The gradual implementation of STEAM, whether local or broad, may usher in a wave of great change when it comes to meeting the growing STEM demand; this responsibility lies primarily at the level of our teachers and local educators.
Are you a parent or educator looking for STEM/STEAM resources? CME’s solar4STEM product line puts the what, why, and how in solar power education. With our portable classroom solar panels and electricity kits, our products prioritize you and the student. Minimal setup time and included lesson plans are designed to bring interactivity back to our classrooms. Let CME help you engage your students and achieve more.
Contact Us: https://www.solar4stem.com/contact.html
solar4STEM hands-on STEM kits aid vocational training at Sumter Correctional Institution in efforts to prevent recidivism.
Pinellas Park, FL: Today, solar4STEM announced it has partnered with Sumter Correctional Institution by providing their solar4STEM 50 education kits for incorporating hands-on STEM learning in Sumter C.I.’s Pilot Energy Technician Program. Solar4STEM is excited to partner with Sumter Correctional Institution to provide engaging STEM kits that help their inmates re-enter society with employable skills.
...studies show that rehabilitation programs decreases recidivism.
While the debate on punishment vs. rehabilitation at correctional institutions continues, studies show that rehabilitation programs decreases recidivism. For instance, a study in Ohio found that prisoners who take college courses while incarcerated have an 18% re-offending rate, while prisoners who do not take college courses while incarcerated have a more than doubled re-offending rate of 40%. 
There are four main purposes of a Correctional Institution: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation.
“There are four main purposes of a Correctional Institution: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation.,” says John Friedhof, Vocational Instructor at Sumter Correctional Institution (Sumter C.I.). “My role within those four realms is rehabilitation. As a Vocational Educator my role is to prepare the students for a career once released from incarceration.” He adds, “Society benefits by gaining the release of the incarcerated individual with immediate education, skills and certifications.”
Sumter C.I. hopes to ease their inmates’ re-entry into society by providing vocational training. Mr. Friedhof teaches a 600-hour, 11-month Energy Technician Program allowing inmates to learn about electronics and renewable energy, while earning their Energy Technician Vocational Educational Certificate. Currently, there are 42 students attending the STEM program.
[I] thought that the solar4STEM 50 trainer would be an excellent addition to the Pilot Energy Technician Program at Sumter C.I.
John Friedhof says, “[I] thought that the solar4STEM 50 trainer would be an excellent addition to the Pilot Energy Technician Program at Sumter C.I.” He adds, “STEM programs are rare within correctional educational programs and are now just coming to the forefront of the correctional vocational educators’ methods of teaching.”
By training with the solar4STEM educational kits, Sumter C.I. hopes to give valuable certification opportunities to their inmates helping them enter the workforce and reintegrate back into their community as productive members of society.
"The inmates benefit from the use of the STEM Program by the utilization of the trainer in conjunction with their normal textbook studies. After reading the current lesson topic, the inmate can immediately practice that topic on the solar4STEM 50. I believe this method solidifies the inmates understanding of the current Solar Energy topic and gains real world experience in completing the activities associated with the training manual. This leads to a more in depth understanding of the subject and provides the knowledge necessary for the student to use that knowledge to further benefit his career.” - John Friedhof, Vocational Instructor at Sumter Correctional Institution
The partnership between solar4STEM and Sumter C.I. has been a success with John Friedhof reporting, “The students were very receptive to the idea of using the solar4STEM 50 trainer and have enjoyed the activities while using the solar4STEM 50 trainer. I hope that use of the solar4STEM 50 trainer inspires them once released to pursue more STEM projects/learning.”
About solar4STEM: Located in Pinellas Park, Florida, solar4STEM is dedicated to providing interactive STEM & sustainability kits for the education industry. sSolar4STEM is a brand of the parent small business Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc. (CME®), which has won local and national technology awards and for is a developer of innovative products for government, commercial and industrial applications. For more information about solar4STEM, see www.solar4STEM.com, or contact email@example.com or 727-547-9799 Ext. 1799.
About Sumter Correctional Institution:
The Sumter Correctional Institution is a state prison for men located in Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida, owned and operated by the Florida Department of Corrections.
 “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet,” www.NAACP.org, accessed August 10, 2017, https://donate.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet.
 “Recidivism,” www.nij.gov, last modified June 17, 2014, https://www.nij.gov/topics
 James S. Vacca, “Educated Prisoners Are Less Likely to Return to Prison,” Journal of Correctional Education 55, no. 4 (2004): 298, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23292095.
Collaborative experiments and activities are sure to bring joy to your household and can be used for some crafty gift ideas if you’re pondering what to get family and friends. Here are three STEM activities you can do yourself at home:
1. Holiday Card Circuits
2. Ice Ornaments
3. Gumdrop Structures
Want to give the gift of a STEM kit this holiday season? A STEM kit can offer you these types of activities and so much more! Look no further – a solar4STEM electricity kit contains the type of exciting, hands-on electricity experiments your gift-recipients will love! With a wide array of products from electricity kits to solar panel units, solar4STEM has STEM products for all ages!
As the holidays quickly approach, the search for the perfect gift is in full swing. Why not give a gift that will last a lifetime? A STEM kit or toy can inspire growth and discovery for years to come. Here’s a list of five STEM items that would make perfect gifts this holiday season!
1. Lego Creative Brick Box
Approximate Price: $47.99 Ages: 4+
LEGO’s have been an innovator’s staple for decades. These seemingly small bricks can be arranged many ways to create incredible designs! The best part about the LEGO creative brick box is the ingenuity it leaves up to the user. Each design is unique! A simple yellow box will offer hours of enjoyment either by yourself or with friends and family. With 790 pieces and a creator’s manual to jumpstart some ideas, this kit is good for ages 4 and up.
2. Lego Klutz Chain Reactions
Approximate Price: $19.88 Ages: 8+
The LEGO Klutz chain reaction pack is an excellent way to bring the basics of engineering into your Lego experience. With an 80+ page booklet, this science and building kit encourages your gift recipient to tap into the world of physics by bringing motion to otherwise still-sitting LEGO pieces. If you know someone who loves working with LEGO pieces, this kit is sure to bring a lot of holiday cheer.
Note: This kit is best combined with existing LEGO sets, as it does require a lot of LEGO parts not included in this kit.
3. Arduino UNO Super Starter Kit
Approximate Price: $29.99 Ages: 10+
The ELEGOO Arduino sets are notoriously some of the best electrical engineering sets out there. Ready to go circuit boards that are easy for kids to get a hang of, in addition to programming that brings a new level of pizazz to all your projects, make these kits truly astounding. In a world dominated by electronics, an Arduino UNO super starter kit is a great way to dive in and offers plenty of room to grow!
4. VEX Robotics Super IQ Kit
Approximate Price: $379 Ages: 10+
Robotics is a rapidly evolving field; VEX robot kits are a perfect way to get acquainted with the way robots work and the creative process behind them. The VEX IQ super kit offers a programmable brain, motors, gears, bands, building blocks, sensors, and so much more, to entertain a group of 2-4. With a designed curriculum framework, VEX has made it simple to integrate these kits into your class agenda.
5. solar4STEM Electricity Kit
Actual Price: $79 Ages: 8+
solar4STEM’s electricity kit is a fun and engaging circuit kit teaching electricity, magnetism, and physics! This all in one kit can be used in classroom and engineering lab, homeschooling, or for family fun. The kit presents an easy way to include basic learning while fostering creativity through hands-on experiences. With a manual of over 30+ experiments and activities and YouTube videos to guide you, this gift is ready to go from the moment you open the box. This kit is designed for kids, parents, and educators as well. This gift will educate and entertain for this Christmas and years to come!
Teaching electricity is tricky.
It's hard to keep kids' attention while teaching about electricity because they can't see or touch it (at least not under safe circumstances!). And, teaching from the textbook is boring for both you and kids.
Since, electricity has been traditionally taught with rote memorization of theories and math, it can turn kids away from learning.
So what do you do? See below how you can "spark" electricity inspiration!
Experiments are the way to go!
Use experiments to apply electricity theories and math. Not only will kids be engaged, but they will be begging to learn more. Hands-on application allows for kids to easily see how the material their learning in class is useful in the "real-world".
You can create your own experiments or you could save time and invest in an electricity education kit. These kits typically include electrical components and a manual book full of fun experiments.
What kinds of hands-on electricity kits are available? See below for a kit that can bring your electricity lesson plan to the next level!
The Ultimate Hands-on Electricity Kit
Spend less time in rote memorization and more time inspiring your students with a hands-on electricity kit.
This fun kids science kit will easily engage your students in exciting content that is hassle-free. Our electrical circuit kit for kids requires no soldering or outside tools. We guarantee easy set-up and clean-up.
The days of experiments in a science classroom bring back a certain nostalgia. Excitement fills the room as students jump at the opportunity to get some hands-on experience; a nice break from their note taking. While STEM activities are fun, some may find it a burden when designing their lesson plan. Setup, cleanup, incorporating it with your curriculum – it seems too complicated. Bringing STEM to your classroom through experiments doesn’t have to be complicated; with activities featuring the power of solar energy and electricity, you can provide a plethora of learning opportunities.
Experimenting with solar energy is simple since the sun is a commodity available anywhere during school hours. No extensive field trips, no thorough prep – a solar panel is a potent teaching tool accessed on campus. While solar energy is most obviously suited to teach about renewable energy and sustainability, the potential for lessons branches out way beyond an energy unit. Solar panels can be used as an addendum to supplement many experiments – electricity, physics, chemistry – providing hours’ worth of lecturing in minutes of interactivity. Using solar panels with electricity kits, or integrating solar cars in your curriculum, initiates hands-on learning that gives your students a deeper understanding of content while simultaneously keeping them engaged.
Activities allow our students to truly explore, empowering them to think creatively, and critically. Integrating STEM benefits everyone – not just the engineer, mathematician, or scientist. It also reinforces leadership and responsibility. For these long-term rewards, there are short-term barriers – as an educator, your time is limited. You shouldn’t be satisfied with a STEM activity that calls upon a great amount of your time. You should be able to bring STEM learning to your classroom immediately.
Searching for STEM Activities?
With solar4STEM, we can offer you STEM solutions for your classroom that reinforce learning, respect your time, and save you money. The solar4STEM family of products includes solar panels enabling discovery while lasting for years to come. With electricity kits that setup in minutes and are straightforward to use, students are quickly exposed to a world of knowledge. Our STEM products come with prepared experiments ensuring seamless addition to any unit. We can help you envision success powered by STEM tailored to your needs. Achieve greater success by applying the benefits of STEM into your lesson plans.
The next generation of renewable energy lies increasingly in research in one field – solar energy. Solar’s growth is unparalleled, providing broad career opportunities. We know that solar energy is an educational topic that students should be exposed to early on. So how can we introduce solar power to students early on?
Here are 5 solar power experiments you can try at home!
1. Solar Oven
2. Solar Updraft Tower
1. Tape together three, large, empty, clean tin cans, with the tops and bottoms removed.
2. Create a wire arch (made from an unbent paper clip) and tape it across the opening of the top can.
3.Tape a thumbtack or straight pin to the center of the arch, pointing up.
4. Place the cans on top of a couple of books, to allow air to flow in from underneath. Make sure the books are separated and the can sits on them from two sides to allow airflow between the books.
5. Create and decorate a pinwheel: https://bit.ly/1C5tHTV
6. Balance the pinwheel on top of the thumbtack, taped side down.
7. When placed in the sunlight, the heat from the sun will warm the air inside the cans, creating a convective updraft, and will spin the pinwheel.
3. Water Desalination
You will need:
4. Solar Heated Home Design (STEAM Experiment)
5. Sun Print Tote - (STEAM Activity)
Looking for more ways to explore solar energy?
The solar4STEM family of products contain quick, convenient, and affordable supplements to fit perfectly into curriculum standards in a timely manner. With experiments already developed, our science kits remove the burden of lengthy after-hours setup, reinforcing a lesson plan for your needs.
The last thing teachers, parents, and educators want are un-engaged students due to a boring and detaching classroom atmosphere. There is a strong potential to involve and invigorate the learning spirit every day: through experiments promoting STEM skills.
Making the grade should be hassle free, awarded to both students and faculty as a tribute of their commitment. solar4STEM is one educational product line we’re using to help you ignite passion for science in and beyond classrooms.
We provide the instructions for experiments, saving you lesson planning time so you can focus on giving opportunities of a lifetime to students. Allowing them to design, build, and test on an independent or collaborative basis with peers offers a sense of accomplishment.
Why not invest in tools to advance this goal?
More information about how you can use solar4stem to help you educate your students can be found here.
Most people are aware STEM is an educational movement involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum in schools across the nation. Most educators acknowledge STEM is a better way to educate practical and technical skills for tomorrow’s future. Policy growth in STEM fields has led to shifting public perception. There is a pressing need to bridge a skills gap from theoretical comprehension to effective application.
Lawmakers are taking necessary strides toward fulfilling the goals of STEM proliferation, with Florida Governor Ron De Santis at the helm: “propos[ing] over $36 million for workforce training and industry-specific programs” and “…also provid[ing] the direction in highlighting the need for more skilled workers to meet new and growing opportunities in aviation, aerospace, and related high-tech industries” as of March 2019 .
STEM education is the key to our future. In a world driven by technology, there is an evolving
need for innovative technologies and solutions to practical problems. Taking up interest in STEM pushes
As a result, the demand for more engagement in STEM is rising. For their dedication, students should be entitled to resources helping them grow into their fields of interest. solar4STEM is one of many companies eager to help provide the tools for student success. At CME, we developed solar4STEM to be introduced in schools to bridge the STEM gap.
STEM’s benefits don’t stop at scientists or mathematicians: all students should be given the tools for achievement provided by STEM learning. Providing cooperative work and problem solving through rigor, the practical application of STEM extends to all students in regaining waning interest.
Hands-on and project-based learning through STEM engages students, creates enjoyment for learning, and pushes teachers, students, and schools toward academic success.
Educators and private companies are taking steps to increase skills and capabilities for students. solar4STEM allows for experiments and hands-on experience, while also teaching the importance of energy independence and environmental experience. Providing outlooks on electrical, magnetic, and solar experiments, solar4STEM offers insightful experiences for students of all ages to witness science working in action, while cohesively working with nature.
From a student perspective, focusing strictly on theory day-to-day is tiring leading to burnouts from schoolwork.
Seeing the excitement light up faces of young minds in a classroom at mention of a lab or experiment is delightful and exciting! A passion to learn and investigate is truly what we should be seeing more of. Students, teachers, parents, educators, school officials, and industry can fix this problem plaguing the world through cooperation.
Students and teachers can make adventures in STEM our new reality – CME has the capacity for providing these STEM solutions for all sizes and types of classrooms, inside or outside. You can view our STEM products and gauge your potential at our website.
CME’s 21 years of experience in manufacturing and giving back to the community is experience we want to put to work in helping envision STEM solutions for the future. solar4STEM is a great tool that can be used within classrooms, and we are continuously working on new ways to introduce STEM to soaring minds.
 James, Nicole (March 26, 2019) “How Ron DeSantis is Shaking Up the Establishment” Florida Today (https://bit.ly/2F3jXkN)
1. Talk more about women in STEM
In several studies, when children were asked to draw a mathematician or scientist, girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women. Boys almost universally drew men, often in a lab coat. Subconscious images of males in STEM start at an early age. This may be one explanation why girls enter STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—at dramatically lower rates than boys.
2. Provide Engaging STEM Activities
One way to get girls excited about STEM is to actually make STEM fun to learn. Hands-on application of textbook learning will help with getting girls engaged and passionate about STEM.
One way to incorporate Hands-on learning with STEM curriculum is with STEM Kits.
You can see our interactive STEM kits here.
3. Reinforce the statement "Girls can"
Too often women are excluded in the conversation about historical scientists and engineers who have contributed to the STEM field and society. Start to incorporate more female STEM role models int he STEM discussion to enforce the idea that girls can have a STEM career.
Below are examples of women in STEM:
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician. Her calculations as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first U.S. manned spaceflight!
Roberta Bondar was the first female astronaut in Canada. She was also the first neurologist in space! She spent over a decade as NASA's head of Space Medicine.
“I want to reach girls and tell them they don’t have to limit themselves to traditional jobs, like teachers. Especially for girls from my community, they have a very limited idea of what’s out there,” Ms. Bakarian says. “I want to become an example.”
4. Encourage girls to describe themselves differently: "Inventive" vs. "Creative"
We limit the way girls perceive themselves when we use words like "creative", or "sensitive". Instead of calling her "creative" or "imaginative", try "inventive" or "determined". While she may have all of these attributes, when we use words that re-enforce positive mechanical, intellectual, and hands-on skills that girls posses - we give them the confidence to purse those skills further and develop them.
While calling her picture "creative" might inspire her to draw another, by saying she is "inventive" and encouraging a physical development of that drawing - you can help her realize her ability to create, design, and invent. Small phrases can influence the way girls perceive themselves, and can potentially have an impact on whether or not they envision themselves as a "girl who has the skills for STEM".
5. Show Girls Where STEM Exists in The Workplace