President Obama
tom hanson
white house science fair
May 28, 2014

Science Education at the White House


Scott: The White House said it was geeking out yesterday at its 4th annual science fair. This year, the spotlight was on girls and women excelling in science, technology, engineering and math. And that is because women hold less than a quarter of the jobs in those fields, despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. Tom Hanson has more.

Tom: From gadgets to gizmos, yesterday, tech took center stage at the White House Science Fair. One hundred of America’s best and brightest came from all over the country to the nation’s capital.

President Obama: When I was growing up, my science fair projects were not as successful as the ones here.

Tom: Success is one thing all the participants shared, from the oldest to the youngest. This Girl Scout group from Tulsa, Oklahoma designed a prize-winning flood-proof bridge, which earned them a spot at the fair.

Girl Scout: This is our motion sensor and it detects rising water. And when it detects rising water, these two bridge pieces will raise up.

Tom: The idea came to them after they noticed how floodwaters wash out bridges, keeping first responders from reaching certain communities.

MIT-bound teens Olivia Van Amsterdam and Katelyn Sweeney built this robot. It is designed to help search and rescue divers stay safe in icy water.

Katelyn Sweeney: What happens a lot is people will see a hole in the ice and call 911 whether or not they’ve seen someone fall through, and that puts a diver in a really dangerous situation.

Tom: The event honored the winners of competitions devoted to fields in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. Now, the Obama administration plans on bulking up these programs by training an additional 100,000 educators to teach STEM in their schools.

But the plans won’t stop there. AmeriCorps, a federally funded organization geared toward community service, will work with the administration to extend a STEM mentoring program in seven communities across the country.

Obama: We’re also going to expand STEM AmeriCorps to provide learning opportunities for 18,000 low-income students this summer.

Tom: And while the focus was on the females, plenty of guys got into the science action too. Peyton Robertson designed these sandless sandbags using polymer and salt. They are also reusable after they dry out.

In all, the White House Science Fair was a success, and one future thinkers will hopefully stem from for years to come.

Tom Hanson, Channel One News.


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