Young Einsteins Wow White House
President Obama hosts second White House Science Fair
When people talk about science fairs, they usually mean baking soda volcanoes and make-your-own silly putty. But last Tuesday, the term "science fair" took on a whole new meaning at the second White House Science Fair.
The science fair was hosted by President Barack Obama and highlighted one of the President's fundamental educational goals: Encouraging students to get interested in science and technology.
The inspiring event also featured 30 projects highlighting some of the biggest breakthroughs and inventions in science and technology that have been discovered by kids.
The outstanding middle- and high-school students who created the exhibits worked hard and used a lot of creativity to produce everything from prosthetic limbs and homemade software to nanobots that eradicate cancer stem cells to UV-light self-cleansing lunchboxes.
The White House Science Fair began with an opportunity to check out the kids' projects. President Obama then delivered a speech about the importance of continuing to improve America's science and technology programs.
"You've got a responsibility to use your talents in service of something bigger than yourselves," the President told the young scientists. "For some of you, that means developing new products that will change the way we live."
The President also touted his Administration's plans to invest roughly $100 million in education this year. Along with the support of numerous foundations and technology leaders, this investment will train 100,000 math and science teachers. These teachers will be in high demand as the President pushes to increase the number of students who graduate from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs over the next 10 years.
Throughout his speech, President Obama stressed the importance of celebrating and encouraging young scientists.
"If we are recognizing athletic achievement, then we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement," the President said.
After the event, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps had the opportunity to talk with John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and a key player in organizing the event.
Dr. Holden said more needs to be done to encourage kids to see science and math as cool.
"We need to do better in inspiring our young people to think about the opportunities and the enormous satisfaction that exists in working in science and engineering and innovation," Holdren told the Kids Press Corps.
The Internet is helping kids get more involved in math, science, and technology, Dr. Holdren said. The Web played a role in many of the projects seen at the White House Science Fair. It also helps anybody who is motivated and hardworking to be able to develop their own thoughts and ideas, regardless of how much money they have.
"The opportunities for kids to get involved are expanding," Dr. Holdren said. "For any kid with access to a computer, there is an enormous amount of good stuff available on the Internet, including access to some of the projects that were honored here this year — projects such as computer games that are educational about science and math."
By getting more kids interested in the STEM fields, "America will win the race to the future," President Obama said. Dr. Holdren agreed, but said getting kids involved in math and the sciences is just the first step.
"We need to continue to find the resources to invest in research in development, and to invest in science, technology, engineering and math education," Dr. Holdren said. "These are really investments in the future of our country."
Visit the White House website to find out more about the amazing ideas and projects on display at the White House Science Fair.
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