Having gone viral in 2002 after posting the first Diet Coke and Mentos video on YouTube, Steve Spangler has become television’s resident scientist. With over 1,600 television appearances, as well as regular visits to “The Ellen Show,” he’s used his platform to promote the wonders of at-home science fun. Before all of this, he started out as a science teacher in Colorado and has worked extensively in training educators on how to approach science in the classroom in a way that is fun for everyone. His life has been devoted to making STEM education fascinating to kids whether it be in school or at home.
With the school year already underway, we got to check in with Spangler about the benefits of getting your kid interested in science and his upcoming contest with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda.
How did you start out in STEM education?
I started teaching STEM when we used to call it science. My career as an elementary science teacher changed forever when I was approached by NBC to host a Saturday morning television series called ‘News for Kids.’ This national platform allowed me to focus on creative ways to get students excited about science, technology, engineering, and math long before we called it STEM. Back in the early 1990s, who could have ever guessed these elements would one day become the pillars of a world-wide education initiative? Today, I travel extensively, training over 20,000 educators each year in developing strategies and best practices for making STEM engaging and fun in today’s classroom.
What are some benefits that you see in getting kids involved in STEM?
Experts agree that 90% of young children today will have a job that has yet to be invented. It’s imperative that we capitalize on the fun and engaging aspect of STEM in today’s classroom in order to teach the underlying skills that this future generation really needs–communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. STEM experiences help children build connections between hands-on learning and help them uncover their true passion. In other words, STEM helps children find the things that make them happy, and that’s a core value for this future generation.
What do you think are some great ways for parents to get their kids interested in science (STEM)?
We must remember that our children get excited about things that get us excited. If you get excited about a cool science experiment you see online, on television, or at your local museum, your children will lock away that memory and react similarly when they encounter a similar experience. Let’s say you didn’t necessarily have the best experience as a kid in your science and math classes, which caused you not to like either subject. Set aside your prejudice and press the restart button. Your job is to cultivate a passion for curiosity and joy for wonder, discovery, and exploration. The true meaning of STEM is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Let’s get to work!
Tell us more about your contest with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and how kids can win.
The people at Arm & Hammer found out how much I love using baking soda to make things fizz, bubble, and pop, all in the name of making science fun. That’s why they asked me to help create a contest where students and teachers can share their most creative science projects powered by baking soda. Whether you’re using baking soda to trigger a chemical reaction or releasing the bubbles of carbon dioxide gas to power a rocket, we’re excited to share your creative ideas with science enthusiasts of all ages.
The contest is easy to enter. Just visit armandhammer.com/frightnightfizz for details on how to submit your baking-soda-powered idea. Entries will be judged on creativity and innovation as you compete to win a grand prize of $2,000 for yourself and another $2,000 for your school. This is an amazing opportunity to collaborate with friends, push your critical thinking skills and unleash your creativity. We can’t wait to see your great ideas!