25 Years of Growing With STEM

“Education at all levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—STEM—develops, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and skills that convey personal, economic, and social benefits. Higher education provides the advanced work skills needed in an increasingly knowledge-intensive, innovation-focused economy and society.” – National Science Foundation

STEM education, focusing on the four disciplines of science,
technology, engineering and mathematics, allow the subjects to be taught as a
united, real world model. While the United States has overwhelmingly been a
leader in the STEM fields, lately fewer and fewer students are choosing these
careers. While 28% of high school freshman declare an interest in STEM-related
fields, 57% of these students will lose that interest before graduating high

The lack of inspiration and motivation necessary for
students to succeed in STEM subjects is directly related to inadequate numbers
of qualified teachers in the classroom. The Obama and Trump Administrations
have made specific grants to be accessed by educators to enhance and support
STEM learning. Tapping into these grants to develop more engaging, invigorating
science education benefits students and their future career choices. 

STEM diverges from conventional science and mathematics teachings
by showing students how they can apply the scientific method and scientific themes
to everyday life, using STEM as a tool for understanding their world.  Developing critical thinking and
problem-solving skills that begin at a very early age is lacking. Much of STEM
education focuses on early education and the underrepresented populations in
the STEM fields. Introducing STEM courses, raising awareness of the STEM
occupations and fields, and igniting interested in pursuit of science are the
fundamental objectives of STEM studies.

The representation gap within STEM fields is ever
increasing. Male students are 3 times as likely to pursue a STEM career than
female students. Within STEM graduates, male students are more likely to pursue
engineering and technology fields while female students prefer the science
fields of chemistry and biology. Looking further into the demographics of STEM
fields, we see racial sparsity within career choices. Asian students have
displayed the highest interested in STEM fields, where African American
students have continuously dropped interest from being the most to least
interested demographic. Work is needed by educators to ensure STEM fluency is habituated,
regardless of students’ background, by delivering a quality learning
environment to each child’s zip code.

STEM careers are of the most value, each focusing on
applying scientific principals and problem solving.  STEM related jobs grew three times as quickly
as non-STEM positions from 2000 to 2010. STEM careers are shown to be better
paid, and more plentiful than many other careers. While the average salary in
the United States is around $43,000, STEM occupations earn more than 12-30%
across all education levels. Research shows that around 72-75% of STEM
employees hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For each graduate with a STEM
degree there are 1.73 jobs for each individual, compared to non-STEM occupations
in which 4 individuals are competing for each job. Even so, many who hold STEM
degrees work in other fields due to their competency. STEM degrees are in much
higher demand, showing to be more competent in complex problem solving,
troubleshooting, and reasoning.

Recent studies show that when high schools make additional
science and mathematics courses available, there was no impact in the rate of
which students declare a STEM college major. Teaching in traditional styles lack
the effect of an invigorating educational experience. It is necessary for
students to be engaged in STEM education to begat success. Hands-on science enrichment
allows students to have a glimpse into what an exciting STEM career would
emulate, simulating the rewarding future in the STEM fields.

High Touch High Tech was founded in 1994, long before the term “STEM” was popularized. We provide a hands-on science experience at a young age, supporting teachers in developing future STEM graduates. Today’s youth is being under served in STEM, lacking the full circle, real world implications that science supports and develops. High Touch High Tech programs reach over 16 million students annually, granting a discovery in young minds that will change the world.

Sources Cited:

Hom, E. “What is STEM Education?” Live Science, February
2014. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html

Smithsonian Science Education Institute. “The STEM
Imperative.” STEMvisions, 2019. Retrieved from: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Sawchuk, S. “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs?”
Education Week, May 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/23/is-stem-oversold-as-a-path-to.html

Happy 25th Birthday! Things Turning 25 Along with High Touch High Tech

Happy 25th Birthday!

Things Turning 25 Along with High Touch High Tech


1994 was an amazing year in world news, technological and scientific advancements.  High Touch High Tech began franchising, Nelson Mandela won the presidency of South Africa, and Amazon and Yahoo were both created, and floppy disks were a thing of everyday life! Take the nostalgic trip down memory lane with us as we reminisce 1994.


Amazon and Yahoo

In 1994, the world wide web has just been created. Yahoo and Amazon were both created and grew to the internet giants they are today. Imagine the days before being able to chat with strangers thousands of miles away at any given time! Imagine being unable to order your entire grocery list from your couch through Amazon prime! These websites revolutionized our relationship with the internet, both getting their start alongside High Touch High Tech.


Creation of the Element 110, Darmstadtium

Darmstadtium, element 110 was first synthesized in 1994! There were several failed attempts to create element 110, and was first successfully made that year. While chemists Yuri Ganessian and Vladimir Utyonkov created the very first Darmstadtium particles through cold fusion, credit for the first successful synthesizing goes to Sigurd Hofmann, Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg of Darmstadt, Germany where the element earned its name. The German scientists created the element by bombarding lead with nickel, and their evidence was deeming more credible and confirmed by other scientists throughout the world. Darmstadtium is a highly radioactive metal, and few atoms have ever been created!




The very first PlayStation was released by Sony in 1994. While PlayStation wasn’t the sole gaming console on the market, then competing with the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, the PlayStation was game changing. With a CD format and sleek design, the PlayStation became the first gaming console to sell 100 million units worldwide! While many trends and gaming consoles have come and gone, PlayStation has remained a key player for 25 years.



Living fossil Wollemi Pine found

Before 1994, the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) was believed to be extinct, only having been seen in fossils. The plant is from a line of evolutionary plants, dating back to the dinosaurs, long believed to have been extinct. In 1994, the plant was discovered in the remote, rainforest gorge of Australia. Currently, there are about 80 mature plants and 300 seedlings. The Wollemi pine produces various types of foliage depending on the age of the leaf, and the leaf’s position on the tree. Newer foliage is apple-green in color and frond-like. As the plant develops, the foliage becomes a blue-green color, giving it a Jurassic appearance with dual leaf rows on its branches. The mature trees have a bubbling chocolate appearance, as spongy nodules develop on its bark.

Nelson Mandela Elected President of South Africa

Until 1994, the Apartheid government of South Africa only allowed black voters elect Bantustan or homeland candidates. The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act had stripped black citizens of South Africa of their citizenship, making them citizens of their segregated homelands, or Bantu, in the apartheid state. In 1994 these homelands ceased to exist and were incorporated into the general South African elections, making this election the first multiracial election in South African history. On May 10th of 1994, Nelson Mandela, at the age of 77, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first place president. He tirelessly worked as president to address the issues caused by the apartheid, poverty, inequality, lack of social services and infrastructure, and building a strong economy. Nelson Mandela’s presidency reconciled and strengthened the nation of South Africa, becoming a beacon of progress throughout the world.




Western Hemisphere Declared Free of Polio

Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as polio, was a disease which left survivors permanently disabled. Each few years polio epidemics would plague cities and towns, leaving a trail of death and paralysis behind it. Most famous of all polio survivors being President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, being paralyzed waist down by the disease at age 39. FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938, which would lead to the development of vaccinations for polio. In 1908, polio was identified as a virus by Dr. Karl Landsteiner after filtering preparations of spinal fluid of persons killed by polio. Later in 1910, Dr. Simon Flexner identified “germicidal substances” in the blood of monkeys that survived the polio virus, identifying the antibodies to polio which are the necessary agents in developing a vaccination.

Two separate teams of researchers developed early forms of the polio vaccination in 1935, both vaccinations ending in allergic reactions, illnesses, paralysis, and some deaths. For another 25 years, there were unfortunate trials and errors of an effective polio vaccination, but in the year 1960 Albert Sabin’s poliovirus vaccination for Type 1 poliovirus was licensed and formally recommended by the U.S. Surgeon general. Three years after this licensure, a vaccination for poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3 were combined creating one vaccination of the disease.  In the year 1994, polio was completely eradicated in the Western Hemisphere. While there are still cases of polio globally, there has been more than a 99% reduction of polio cases worldwide, proven the Poliomyelitis vaccination a simple and effective.

The Transition in Technology from 1994

So many of our everyday life depends on the internet; work, entertainment, communication, information, monetary transactions, networking, marketing, and education. In 1994, the World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee, and became the Internet we know and depend on today.

In 1994 there was no Google, no Hulu and Netflix, no smartphones, no YouTube, no social media, and no flat-screen TVs. Let’s look back at our very humble internet and technology beginnings.

The First Website




Windows Operating System









Program Installation, installed via floppy disk





GameBoy Games







Before Netflix and streaming sites, you had to go to a Blockbuster or video store to watch a movie







VHS Movies, the DVD was invented in 1995






No one had an email, or much access to the internet, so faxing was the go-to for messages 



Cell phones, whose battery was the size of the phone.  Free of a camera, touch screen, and texting.




CD Players, because there were no iPods, Pandora, or Spotify.








Technology is constantly developing, and we’ve come a long way since 1994. As new inventions are developed, technology takes an increasing large role in our lives. We at High Touch High Tech believe in developing the next generation of inventors, granting us to the innovations of our future.



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Sources Cited:
Barker, E. “25 Moments That Defined 1994.” NME, Jan. 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.nme.com/photos/25-moments-that-defined-1994-1422189
Sony Interactive Entertainment. “PlayStation, Through the Years.” PlayStation, Sep. 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/ps4/playstation-through-the-years/
Robertson, M. “Darmstadtium.” Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/110/darmstadtium
The Global Trees Campaign. “Threatened Trees, Wollemi Pine.” Fauna and Flora International, 2017. Retrieved from: https://globaltrees.org/threatened-trees/trees/wollemi-pine/
South African History Online. “The Nelson Mandela Presidency – 1994 to 1999.” South African History Online Towards a People’s History, August 2019.  Retrieved from: https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/nelson-mandela-presidency-1994-1999
History of Vaccines. “The History of Vaccines, All Timelines Overview.” The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Birthplace of American Medicine, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline#EVT_100340
Bort, J. “No Google. No Netflix. No iPhone. This is What Tech Was Like in 1994.” Business Insider, August 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-in-1994-the-year-the-web-was-born-2014-8



Feature Teacher of the Month

 Feature Teacher: An Interview with Teacher of the Month Chad Johnson


Q: Why did you become a teacher?

A: I became a teacher because I had a family member that knew I had experience with kids throughout the years. [This family member] she encouraged me, a long time ago, to pursue education. So, I went back to school and got my certification to be an elementary school teacher.

Q: Do you feel that students get enough science education?

A: Looking across the spectrum I would say probably not. I think [the amount of science education] is school specific. When I first started using High Touch High Tech, I was not in a position that I was teaching science every day.  And to have High Touch High Tech opened me up to the opportunity to get extra work and time with students in the area of science, and I knew that they were teaching the objectives for my state.

Q: Why is science education so important for your students?

A: Science education is important because it’s the way the world is trending. Everything is technology, everything is integrated. Everything that we teachers do, at some level, is technology integrated. Anytime we can get kids into anything science or math related that they can use technology as a part of their education is a win.

Q: When did you schedule your first program with High Touch High Tech?

A: I was doing some research on different field trips I could incorporate with my students with science, I came across High Touch High Tech in the spring of 2014. I made reservations for the fall of that year, and I have been scheduling High Touch High Tech ever since then.

Q: How do you feel your students benefit for High Touch High Tech coming to your class?

A: Everything that High Touch High Tech brings completely matches my objectives for our state, so it was a clear-cut option to bring you to my students.

Q: Why would you recommend High Touch High Tech to other schools?

A: The number one reason why I would recommend High Touch High Tech is because it gives my students a break from the norm. As a teacher in the classroom, they hear me giving them information that they need [on a regular basis]. Having someone new come in, with new materials and fun experiences to addition what we do in the class provides them with a unique opportunity.






High Touch High Tech of Maine Brings Hands-on Science to the Kids at the Boys & Girls Club


High Touch High Tech of Maine will deliver a series of science classes at the Riverton Boys & Girls Club in Portland. This program is possible thanks to a sponsorship program which allows individual sponsors to choose non-profit organizations they would like to support.

FALMOUTH, MAINE, July 1, 2019 – Thanks to the generous donation of one of our sponsors, High Touch High Tech of Maine will provide a series of programs at the Riverton Boys & Girls Club in Portland. This series, Science in Action, exposes kids to different topics of physics including Newton’s Laws of Motion, flight, light, sound, space, and electricity. Kids will discover the amazing properties of air, take a ride on a human gyroscope, launch a rocket, find ROY G BIV, learn the difference between static and current electricity and more!

“Our goal is to reach as many kids as possible in the state of Maine” said High Touch High Tech of Maine owner, Dr. Genia Sklute (known to the kids as Dr. G). To meet this goal, High Touch High Tech of Maine implemented a sponsorship program which provides an opportunity for donors to impact the children of Maine directly. Through the sponsorship program, individuals and companies can sponsor High Touch High Tech programs at organizations of their choice.

“The programs stimulate children’s natural curiosity for science and fuels their imagination and excitement about learning” Sklute said. Kids come to understand the magical world of science through programs that are aligned with Maine’s Science and Technology Standards and provide hands-on, totally participatory experiences to the kids. “Kids attending the programs don’t realize how much they are actually learning” Sklute said. “They are simply having fun because they are engaged throughout the experience.” The programs build confidence and encourage kids to continue to engage with inquiry.

The sponsor, who asked to remain anonymous, said that “High Touch High Tech programs are a wonderful way to give the gift of learning! This is a highly innovative way for kids to actively participate in science experiences.” As for his specific choice to sponsor programs at the Boys and Girls Club he said, “I am passionate about giving kids from various backgrounds the same opportunities to succeed.”

High Touch High Tech is a pioneer of science education that has been increasing the scientific and technological literacy of children throughout the nation for 25 years while bringing fun, engaging, hands-on science experiences to kids ages 3-12.

If you would like more information about High Touch High Tech of Maine and program sponsorship opportunities, please call 207.400.0937 or email info@ScienceMadeFunME.net.

A Word From the Principal of the Year- Lauren Evans


Lauren Evans from Asheville Primary School was named Principal of the Year. Read what she had to say about High Touch High Tech of WNC.







To Whom It May Concern:

Asheville Primary School is a public Montessori that services students PreK-3rd grade. Our educational model promotes student centered practices and hands-on experiences. High Touch and High Tech (HTHT) is an excellent accompaniment to our curriculum. Montessori encourages students to research non-fiction topics that are of interest to them. HTHT supports student interests in science and aligns with NC standards. All of our classrooms have had at least 3 “going-outs” with HTHT. A “going-out” is the Montessori equivalent of a field trip. The scientists have been absolutely amazing. Teachers and students have given very positive feedback regarding their experiences with HTHT. The HTHT scientists demonstrate the ability to be flexible and to meet the needs of each classroom. We have chosen to partner with HTHT again as a result of the consistent positive experiences they have provided our children. HTHT encourages student exploration and problem solving. This is the heart of our program. We are grateful to have a community organization that supports the curiosity of children! I highly recommend HTHT to schools that seek to support rigorous and joyful student-centered experiences.







High Touch High Tech



25 Years of Community



Volunteering in your community is a wonderful way to connect with those around you, gain confidence and learn new skills. By engaging with others, you can make connections and even branch out of your comfort zone. Volunteering allows you to meet others that you may or may not see on in your regular schedule. We all have our daily routines. But by taking the opportunity to volunteer, you may meet others that you otherwise would never see.

Volunteering may allow you to try something new and even challenge yourself! You may learn unique skills, meet new people and may even discover hidden talents.

Volunteering may help decrease stress, provide a sense of purpose and even boost your confidence! By helping others, you’ll build self-esteem and a sense of trust. It can boost your mood even on the toughest days. Volunteering and helping others, makes you happy! It’s a “Win-Win”!

By volunteering with different organizations, you are assisting others and connecting with neighbors and establishing a larger social network. These connections may help you in future endeavors and encourage more outreach.

Volunteering sets a great example for those around you. Involving your family, close friends and neighbors will encourage even more good work. You can inspire your students, your children and even someone you have never met.

Volunteering can help you both physically and mentally. Perhaps you spend the afternoon doing yard work for an elderly couple or you guide a student with their reading in the library, every good deed is beneficial. Volunteer activities can get you moving and thinking!

Need some inspiration? Want to find out what is happening in your town? Try asking the school counselor, members of a local church, a friendly postal worker or even a cashier at the local grocery store. There will always be opportunities in the community. It just takes a smile and a friendly “Hello” to start up a conversation. There are always opportunities around the corner, just ask!

Network make new friends and share your love of science!

Learn more about community events find opportunities for individuals and organizations.

Get involved in the community events that support local nonprofit organizations. This is a great way to network, make new friends and share your love of science!

Create a fun, engaging hands-on science activity that connects with the theme of the event. Kids will rush to your table to play, explore and learn. Participants will love a new, exciting vendor at the event. Get creative and inspire young scientists.

High Touch High Tech of Western North Carolina is proud to volunteer with these organizations and community events:

  • The Walk MS & Wellness Fair supports and raises funds for the National MS Society. This annual event hosts a Wellness Fair, food trucks, face painting and kids’ activities. High Touch High Tech of Western North Carolina has participated for 8 years! HTHT provides supplies and instructions for Mystery S This is orange Space Mud (orange is the color for the MS Society.)
  • The NC Arboretum hosts a Mountain Science Expo that features hands-on demonstrations and programs for the whole family. More than 20 science exhibitors participate in this event that highlights STEM education. High Touch High Tech of Western North Carolina is thrilled to participate as an exhibitor at this annual event. Each year, HTHT introduces exciting interactive science experiences. This is a fantastic venue to connect with families and other science enthusiasts.
  • The Holidays are filled with fun, family-friendly events. Biltmore Park Town Square, in Asheville, NC, kicks off the season with a Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. This outdoor event includes music, crafts, balloons, magicians and, of course, science fun with High Touch High Tech! Bundled in our jackets and scarfs, HTHT scientists love this annual Holiday event with all the smiles and excitement. HTHT provides supplies for a hands-on experiment for kids to take home. (Perhaps this inspires some science toys under the Christmas tree!)

This year, High Touch High Tech did volunteer at a few new events, which we were very excited about.

  • The Hendersonville Library kicked off a new program called the ecoEXPLORE to the Hendersonville community and HTHT went and helped the Arboretum with their Nature Program.
  • Mix 96.5 for a “Teacher of the Month” program that we offered a free science program to the teacher of the month. Then we joined in with the radio station in helping with them raise awareness and gifts of children in Foster Homes, a program called “Christmas 4 kids.” We adopted 13 children and helped them have a fantastic Christmas.
  • Special Olympics in Hendersonville. We attended the event held at the East Hendersonville High School and had the children make slime. It was a very special day for all those involved

High Touch High Tech attends as many community events that we can and not just in the Western North Carolina area. Our satellite offices in Charlotte and Raleigh join in at events such as the “Hello Huntersville” and the “Triangle Sci-Tech Expo” along with many elementary schools and their Science Nights.

Each year HTHT supports local schools and local organizations. High Touch High Tech strives to give back to the WNC community by staying involved with our schools, community organizations and partnering with area businesses. Through a FUN hands-on experience, our community events bring science out of the classroom.

These events are great networking opportunities, strengthens community involvement and are tons of fun!

Click here to check out our Community Outreach page.


High Touch High Tech




Playful Learning

Playful Learning: The Role it Plays in Education


Children of all cultures and backgrounds play. Play is omnipresent in the developing minds of children, as well as young animals. Play is an agent that promotes early brain development, strengthens language skills, the executive functions of memory and attention, mathematics and spatial skills, scientific thinking, and emotional development. There is an evident correlation between play and cognitive progression, which grants breakthroughs in conducting education.

Guided play maintains the free and fun aspects of play, while focusing on education goals, fostering an opportunity for imaginative exploration. For children, play and activity is about make-believe, discovery, amusement, and socialization. The difference between free and guided play is gentle adult guidance to lead towards the learning goal, while allowing the creativity to be nurtured.  This innovative approach to making learning an active experience has shown to be a successful pedagogical tool in a variety of subjects, particularly mathematics and science.

Parents, educators, and policy makers want to ensure that today’s youth will grow into tomorrow’s successful adults. The time for childhood development is short, and the expectations are increasingly high. Traditional learning is direct instruction, typically using flash cards, repetitive lessons, and over explanation with a lack of discovery.  Playful learning through guided play supports children taking a lead in their instruction, while being directed to the points and concepts that are vital to education standards and goals. Current and expanding research shows that guided play provides and delivers the same outcomes in children’s learning as traditional teaching, while being a more effective teaching tool.

Research finds that children who engage in guided play activities were more likely to learn target information. Additionally, they are more likely to retain abstract themes than the children who were given direct instruction, while children engaging in free play, without any adult support, overall are less likely to stumble upon the same realizations. A study with preschool aged children taught about shapes using guided play, free play, and conventional instruction. The children who engaged in guided play lesson were able to identify more atypical shapes than those who participated in direct lessons, and more shapes overall than those who participated in free play. The role of adults in guided play is to support the children’s choices, asking open-ended questions to gently shape behavior without controlling it.

Here at High Touch High Tech, we see the value of a hands-on, discovery style of learning. Each day we get to see students come to realizations, all the while using an active imagination. Teachers and the curriculum they abide by have yet to admit guided play and aren’t given the tools to do so. Our students lead in their own education, and it provides them an autonomy of their actions. Students are just learning how the world operates by using their imagination to dream of the possibilities and discovering new information each day.  STEM education is the key to making sense of our world, thus being the single greatest influence on the innovations which will change the world.


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