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Bringing young STEM creativity to the White House

01 Jul 2024

How we joined the National STEM Festival, with EXPLR Media and the US Department of Education, to bring the creativity of the micro:bit to even more people throughout the US.

A micro:bit sits on top of a White House Office door plaque

When we took the Micro:bit Educational Foundation to the White House

Creativity and critical thinking are important and useful skills to foster in young people, but how can science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) be used to do so? These subjects offer practical and hands-on opportunities for students to think creatively, and EXPLR Media saw how a national challenge and festival could offer a moment for schools across the US to unite under the STEM umbrella.

A national moment

We joined forces with EXPLR Media to support their fantastic National STEM Challenge and National STEM Festival, because we have the same goals - to foster creativity, critical thinking, and a passion for STEM subjects among middle and high school students.

The National STEM Challenge encouraged U.S. students in grades 6-12 to develop a STEM project that tackles a real-world challenge. The top 150 National Champions headed to the National STEM Festival in Washington, D.C., co-presented by the U.S. Department of Education and EXPLR, to showcase their projects to some of the US’s most influential leaders. 

As part of the National Champions’ winning package, we donated micro:bits, to help encourage them to keep innovating and sharing their work with the world.

EXPLR was proud to partner with micro:bit for the 2024 National STEM Festival because of our shared vision to inspire creative thinking in children. This collaboration focused on empowering young minds to explore and create with technology and coding, setting them on a path to become the innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow.

Jenny Buccos, CEO of EXPLR and Co-Director of the National STEM Festival

Supporting the next generation

While the National Champions presented incredible projects, we want to motivate and inspire the next generation of Champions. So, we showcased what the micro:bit can do and the impact it can have for educators in the area, by hosting a workshop during the National STEM Festival.

As a signature event of the week, the workshop brought together practitioners and educators in the area, to highlight the creative possibilities of micro:bit.

With support from Jim Egenreider from Virginia Tech and Invent VA, the workshop was facilitated by KID Museum, Liza Manfred and Annalise Phillips and hosted by McKinley Tech, whose students supported educators in the workshop as well as demonstrated their projects at the school.

Kari Byron, co-founder of EXPLR Media with Jenny Buccos, and former host of Mythbusters, also attended and helped attendees get hands-on with the micro:bit.

Great time at the McKinley Learning Lab in the McKinley Middle School, DC. We had a chance to explore micro:bits as an integral part of expanding STEM, Computer Science, and technical career exploration in our afterschool programs.

Christina Clark, attendee

Building strong foundations

The inaugural STEM Festival was fantastic to be part of, and it has been confirmed that it will become an annual event. We are pleased to be supporting the 2025 event, and look forward to seeing the progress made at the event next year.

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