31 Jan Science 4U Outreach Program
Science Central is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana providing programs and activities that focus on physical, natural, and applied science in an inspiring and fun hands-on environment for people of all ages. The Science center is the only one of its kind within the region and offers school tours with 200 exhibits for the students to explore and learn from.
To extend its reach, Science Central has started an outreach program called Science4U. The goal of the program is to connect students with programming that will ignite an interest in the sciences, one that will last into adulthood hopefully sparking a pursuit in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM, career paths.
Science4U outreach program provides a to your door, or in this case school, hands-on learning opportunities through labs, demonstrations, assemblies and festivals. Teachers choose from over 75 programs that align with Indiana State Education standards to match with the current curriculum they are teaching. Then an education specialist from Science Central travels to elementary and middle schools teaching STEM based on the programming the teacher chooses.
Funding from the Community Foundation allows Science Central to provide this outreach service free of charge for the schools that participate. This program is vitally important to expand the interest in STEM, which is said to become some of the fastest growing careers in the future.
The Community Foundation gave a $5,000 grant from the Community Impact Fund and the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Fund. This grant was mainly used for the cost of travel to and from each school, to fund materials needed for the demonstrations and labs, and to cover the cost of an Education Specialists leading the programs. The last bit of remaining funds from the grant was saved for administrative expenses, planning and scheduling related to the programming.
In the 2017-2018 school year, 1,127 students were impacted through this outreach program which consisted of 28 programs spread out over 6 different schools in grant county. The program was a success and greatly helped Science Central spread their mission across Northern Indiana by bringing scientific interest to young minds.