TMT Sponsors $50,000 Hawaii Island Online STEM Learning Program

//TMT Sponsors $50,000 Hawaii Island Online STEM Learning Program

*Hawaii Science and Technology Museum to Deliver Program to Underserved Student Populations*

Hilo, Hawaii (May 13, 2020)—Unfortunately, thousands of students across Hawaii will be out of school for the next several months due to the coronavirus crisis. With parents taking on a larger teaching role to make sure their kids continue to learn and grow while sequestered at home, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Hilo-based Hawaii Science and Technology Museum to fund its innovative online STEM learning program.

Hawaii Science and Technology Museum’s Online STEM Learning Program project-based learning activities and innovative science lessons have been designed to help parents, teachers and kids so the kids don’t miss out on critical development. The program will serve 500 students in grades K-8 in the Department of Education’s Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area in May, June and July.

“We’re committed to serving our community during this time of crisis, and we have an opportunity to help Hawaii Island keiki grow their STEM skills at a time when students will most likely miss lessons for months,” said TMT’s Hawaii Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “We had great success in working with Christian Wong and the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum in 2018 to host a series of STEM camps for keiki displaced by the Kilauea Eruption. In a terrible situation, where parents and kids were literally living on tennis courts and in gymnasiums, Camp Laniakea was a welcome relief for the keiki from the Puna Emergency Shelters. Instead of living in fear, they continued learning, dreaming, playing and exploring. Today’s coronavirus circumstances present another opportunity for TMT to partner and help the community.”

The goal of the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum’s Online STEM Learning Program is to keep students on the pathway to “reaching for the stars” while helping parents who may be feeling overwhelmed during this difficult time. The program will also keep the kids interested and engaged in learning while helping to support their mental health and need for social interaction. Activities will guide students through hands-on lessons by certified teachers from the community, established online resources and physical kits mailed directly to students’ homes.

Students will receive kits with a wide range of hands-on science activities supported by online instruction, including equipment to set up a home laboratory. Physics, biology, robotics, chemistry and much more will be covered. Students will also assist in fabrication of PPE items to support healthcare providers in association with Hawaii STEM Community Care and receive online coding classes with mentor support. The older students will participate in a science exchange program with students from New Mexico, where they will receive instruction from scientists at Los Alamos Laboratory, astronomers, and the Mars 2020 team that includes command/telemetry interface with the Mars Flight System Engineers.

Fun and engaging STEM-based lessons will also be disseminated through Hawaii Science and Technology Museum’s website and social media accounts and will be supported by online resources including Khan Academy and Code.org.

“The DOE’s Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area’s schools are culturally, ethnically and economically diverse with many struggling multi-generational families and is one of the economically challenged school complexes in the state,” said Hawaii Science and Technology Museum Director Christian Wong. “We’ve created a series of online learning opportunities for the keiki of Hawaii Island that feature certified teachers guiding students through meaningful, fun and engaging STEM-based lessons.”

The Hawaii Science and Technology Museum and the Thirty Meter Telescope project have similar long-term goals to help diversify Hawaii’s economy. The Hawaii Science and Technology Museum is investing heavily in Research and Development to look for ways to expand the Hawaii Island economy and create a STEM Workforce Development Pipeline. To date, TMT has contributed more than $5.5 million to its THINK Fund initiative to prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs.

The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s Food Bank recently received a $100,000 donation from TMT to meet the growing demand for food assistance on Hawaii Island. The Thirty Meter Telescope continues to seek opportunities to help the Hawaii Island community during these unprecedented times.

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About Hawaii Science and Technology Museum 
The Hawaii Science and Technology Museum (HSTM) is an educational, federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit formed in 2015 dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education on the Island of Hawaii. Hawaii Science and Technology Museum is a mobile museum bringing exhibits directly to the students to inspire and spark an interest in STEM and we are a member of the Hawaii Museums Association. HSTM also serves the Hawaii Island community through our various outreach programs such as Science Camps, math tutoring, after school programs, student research support, robotics competitions, and special events. We at HSTM believe that every child deserves to receive a solid STEM education and that the future prosperity of our community and nation depend upon cultivating our next generation of innovators.

About TMT
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Maunakea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.