Sesame Street's Focus on STEM
Sesame Street's Focus on STEM
09.26.12 | By Jennifer Wall
Yesterday morning, I was sitting with my daughter watching "Play with me Sesame" on the Sprout channel. Over the last couple of months, my daughter's love for this show has grown - she now dances to the songs and points to the television when she sees her favorite puppet Elmo.
Like many other parents who watch Sesame with their kids, I often drive into work with Ernie's favorite tune "Rubber Ducky" in my head and it isn't until I sit in front of my computer that the song fades away so I can focus on the task at hand. In many ways, I consider it a good thing that I can't get a Sesame song out of my head because it makes me think that my daughter, like me, is remembering what she learned on the show, including the importance of sharing, counting her numbers and learning her ABCs.
When I read the news yesterday about Elmo's segment on Sesame getting tweaked, I was a little unnerved. But I was pleased to learn that producers are tailoring it to introduce concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to the preschool-aged viewers.
This couldn't be more timely as STEM education is becoming more of a priority as we see interest in these subjects waning.
U.S. competitiveness is at risk if we don't do everything we can to ensure that our nation's youth (including my daughter) have the educational tools they need to excel in this subject matter. As the Administration and many members of Congress place great emphasis on the need to create a 21st century workforce to assure our leadership in medical and technological innovation, we should all view this change in the Elmo show as a step in the right direction.
Research-intensive, science-driven sectors such as ours also play an important role in helping to support students pursuing careers in the STEM fields. All of our members, in one way or another, support STEM education because they realize that too much is at stake if our nation loses its medical innovation edge. To provide a snapshot of our industry's role in supporting STEM jobs, check out this neat infographic.
I should also note that earlier this week, one of our member companies unveiled a new blog called LabTalk, which focuses on the importance of science in helping researchers better understand the underpinnings of disease to create the next generation of medicines. In AstraZeneca's own words, LabTalk was created to "provide scientists with a digital forum to discuss cutting-edge science and innovation." This blog is definitely worth checking out!
Just as my daughter learns a great deal from television programs like Sesame, she too is starting to learn on the computer and my mobile device. This is why I view blogs such as the LabTalk blog as an important tool to educate many generations about the importance of advancing science to help millions of patients around the world fight disease.