Transforming K-12 STEM teaching and learning by connecting students and teachers with real science, real role models, and real exploration.
You’ve heard the stats: STEM-related careers and industries are the fastest growing segments of our workforce, expanding 17% between 2008 and 2018. Sixty percent of new jobs in the 21st century will be in STEM fields. But our educational system is not producing nearly enough qualified workers to fill this vital need—80% of the US workforce will lack the knowledge, skills, or mindset required to fill these positions. In order to remain competitive in a fast-moving global economy, we need to do better. Much better. But how?
Twentieth-century approaches to STEM teaching and learning are not going to cut it for building 21st century skills. Today’s students have a world of information immediately accessible at their fingertips. They are natural explorers and tinkerers, and have an innate curiosity and problem-solving drive. They are, essentially, scientists and engineers from day one. But somewhere along the way—as early as 5th or 6th grade—we lose them. They opt out of STEM. They decide it’s not for them, that they don’t “do science” or they are “not a math person.” They stop caring and stop trying. Without the motivation to do the “heavy lifting” of STEM study in high school, students won’t have the fundamentals they need to pursue (much less succeed in) a STEM college degree. So the pipeline continues to leak.
JASON recognizes that students need to be inspired and motivated through those critical years. They need to see a “pot of gold” at the end of the STEM rainbow that’s worth pursuing and putting in the effort to achieve—and not necessarily just from an economic perspective. They need to know that careers in STEM can be rewarding, meaningful, and have a positive impact on the lives of others. And they need to understand how STEM is relevant to their lives and the world around them. They need, in effect, great STEM career role models and mentors that they can look up to, relate to, and learn from. At the same time, their teachers need access to high-quality educational content that will enable them to meet their day-to-day needs of addressing required topics and standards, while simultaneously fueling their students’ interest in and passion for STEM.
JASON Learning: Powerful Content for 21st Century Learners
JASON is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to transform STEM teaching and learning by connecting students and teachers with real science, real role models, and real exploration through world-class curriculum, teacher training, online tools, and field programs.
Available online at jason.org, JASON’s award-winning curricula place students in challenging, real-world situations where they are connected with and mentored by leading STEM professionals. Our forward-thinking design ensures that each and every discrete curriculum component—every article, video, hands-on lab, and online game that comprises the multimedia curricular experience—is aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.
Each comprehensive JASON Learning program includes print and digital materials, hands-on activities, videos and online games for students, as well as lesson plans, implementation tips, professional development and a powerful digital platform for educators. Live, interactive events throughout the year connect JASON participants with inspirational STEM role models, including renowned scientists and other experts in STEM fields.
Curriculum units include:
Monster Storms - Weather unit where students investigate the mechanics of extreme weather to learn basic science concepts
Resilient Planet - Ecology unit where students investigate environmental health and the ecosystem
Infinite Potential - Energy unit where students explore challenges of energy generation, storage and consumption and related technologies
Tectonic Fury - Geology unit where students investigate how minerals drive technological innovation, how a volcanic eruption can drive the cycle of life, and propose a plan to store carbon dioxide deep underground
Terminal Velocity - Forces and motion unit where students learn systems and standards of measurement and how simple machine can solve complex problems
Seas of Change - Earth Science unit where students investigate the nature and importance of Earth's ocean and its effect on climate, and the complex science of climate change
Race to Restore - Integrated unit covering topics in life science, earth science and engineering design, all focused on the importance of wetlands and our efforts to protect and restore them
Making A Difference in STEM Achievement and Attitudes
JASON’s classroom and professional development programs have been extensively researched by independent evaluators, including Battelle Memorial Institute, the Center for Children and Technology at the Education Development Center, SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute), Dr. Daniel Duke of the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, and others. The data conclude that the program increases students’ STEM engagement and academic achievement, and improves teacher efficacy while enabling educators without a science background to teach the subject.
You Can Make A Difference, Too
As a school board member and community leader we invite you to team up with JASON Learning to provide an exciting, high-quality STEM teaching and learning resource to the students and teachers in your home town. Thanks to our partnership, we are thrilled to offer VSBA members significant discounts on subscriptions for online access to all of JASON’s curriculum and resources. Contact us to schedule a time for a one-on-one consultation and in-depth overview of all that JASON has to offer your division.
Patrick Shea, Executive Vice President