White House Hosts Science Fair
April 13,, 2016 - 10:22 AM
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama will host the sixth and final White House Science Fair of his Administration and celebrate the student competitors and winners from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions. The event will be the largest White House Science Fair to date, with more than 130 students from more than 30 states, as well as student alumni from each of the prior five White House Science Fairs.
Highlighting the powerful stories of ingenuity, social activism, teamwork, and civic engagement evident in the projects, President Obama will call on this generation of students—those in elementary, middle, and high schools today—to actively participate in solving the toughest challenges facing our world, from combating climate change to setting foot on Mars.
President Obama established the tradition of the White House Science Fair at the start of his Administration to personally celebrate our Nation’s top young scientists and innovators. The President created the Science Fair with a simple credo: “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
The President will also highlight the growing community of education, business, and nonprofit leaders who have responded to his State of the Union call to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science (CS), as well as his overall “Educate to Innovate” campaign to ensure all students have the tools to be innovators and problem-solvers. Today’s announcements include:
Today’s STEM announcements also mark progress on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and the efforts of the Council on Women and Girls to build ladders of opportunity for all young people, including populations underrepresented in STEM; incorporate STEM into the Administration’s push to expand high-quality early-childhood education; and advance the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative to help connect all American students and citizens with the best-available, science-based information about climate change. Full details on all of today’s announcements can be found here.
The White House Science Fair is part of a week of Administration activities celebrating science and technology, featuring the President’s participation as a guest presenter throughout this week on the Science Channel’s nightly science news segment. In addition, the White House Science Fair will be immediately followed by the USA Science & Engineering Festival, the nation's largest celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with more than 350,000 students and adults expected to engage in more than 3,000 hands-on activities over 3 days. More than 70 Federal agencies will participate in the Festival.
A Generational Call to Action
Students today have the potential to be one of America’s greatest generations. Though each generation of Americans brings with them new ideas and energy, today, because of unprecedented access to cutting-edge physical and digital tools, online and in-person communities, and information about the grand challenges we face, American students are even better equipped to harness their passions towards developing solutions that confront our toughest challenges.
They can be the Mars generation, the explorers who first step foot on another planet. Their skills, perseverance, and collaboration can help seed new technologies and solutions to tackle the climate crisis. They can collaborate to harness rapid advances in information technology and nanotechnology to understand the human brain, forge new solutions to cancer, and embrace the American spirit of discovery, invention, and entrepreneurship.
As the President highlighted in this year’s State of the Union Address, everyone in the United States can harness technology to help solve our toughest challenges. The 2016 White House Science Fair shines a spotlight on the contributions that the Nation’s students are making now, and the potential they have to help make our country and our world a better place.
The more than 130 students at the 2016 White House Science Fair will represent more than 40 different STEM competitions and organizations. Approximately 40 student teams will have the opportunity to exhibit their projects at the White House, and the President will personally view some of these projects. Additional information on the projects, students, and competitions being recognized at the Fair can be found here.
A Sustained Record of Accomplishment
This White House Science Fair is only the most recent example of President Obama’s sustained and historic focus on giving every child the opportunity to excel at STEM education. In the past 7 years:
And in his final budget announced in February, the President sustains this impressive track record with an investment of $3 billion for STEM-education programs, as well as a historic $4 billion proposal in support of CS education for all students.
New Steps Being Announced by the Administration Today
Federal agencies are announcing new steps to empower local communities with the tools, people, and support they need to expand their STEM efforts. These include:
Private-Sector Commitments in Response to the President’s Call to Action
Today, more than 100 different organizations are announcing new commitments, showcasing the strong response to the President’s State of the Union call to give every child the opportunity to learn CS, as well as his overall “Educate to Innovate” campaign to ensure all students have the tools to be innovators and problem-solvers. These announcements include:
o Nine school districts surrounding Chicago have grouped together to begin offering AP CS Principles in 21 high schools.
o Dallas Independent School District will be offering beginning CS courses districtwide for the first time in the majority of their high schools and all of their middle schools in the 2016-17 school year.
o Georgia’s Department of Education and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement committed to expand AP CS Principles to 60 high schools and integrate CS into preexisting courses at 60 middle schools across the state.
o Mississippi’s Department of Education will host 6 summer workshops this year to prepare approximately 170 new CS teachers in grades K-5.
o Northeast Florida School Districts, representing Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties, have combined efforts to spread opportunities for CS instruction to over 200,000 students served collectively by their 330 schools.
o In Washington State, Educational Service Districts 123, 171, and 112 (serving 82 school districts) have partnered with Code.org to bring CS professional-learning opportunities for elementary- and middle-school teachers as well as for middle-and high-school counselors and administrators.
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