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Science, technology, engineering and math – oh my!

By: lvelte
Did you know the Department of Labor projects that by 2018—that’s less than eight years from now—jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will increase by 34%? This translates to nearly 2.7 million new jobs. The unfortunate reality is that during the same time period, projections of newly minted STEM graduates will only grow by 14%. Now is the time to act to inspire our youth to explore STEM careers.  AGI has long valued the commitment to providing a variety of opportunities for today’s youth to learn about the exciting, challenging and rewarding careers associated with science, technology, engineering and math.  This will be the focus of my blog posts. Recently, AGI engineers kicked off the eighth year of the local Galaxy Explorers chapter ( This local group meets one Saturday a month during the normal school year. The group participates in a variety of hands-on activities generally focused on space science.  Last month, the group learned all about global positioning system (GPS) technology. Our mission team – that is what the Galaxy Explorers group is officially called – reviewed the basics of GPS technology, why is it important, and the fundamentals of how it works.  Important geometric principles such as triangulation were also introduced. The best part was applying new-found knowledge to a GPS treasure hunt. Four prize locations were hidden around the facility, and the mission teams used GPS receivers pre-loaded with waypoints—or landmarks.  Using the receivers and GPS satellite signals, the group found their way to the hidden treasures. There must have been an unrelated treasure hunter who found one of the booty stations (and helped himself) before our mission team arrived. In the end, it was a fantastic learning experience for all—parents and kids, alike. Where else can you enjoy a beautiful Saturday afternoon outdoors, search for hidden treasure and learn about GPS constellations all at once?  The strategic benefit may be that we inspired a few more kids to explore engineering as a career.
Posted: 11/3/2010 2:28:32 PM