About a month ago, we took a family vacation to New York City. My ten-year-old daughter has been wanting to see it “all of her life” and this summer she was able to experience the Big Apple with its sounds, lights, and huge skyscrapers. Since my daughter and I are huge fans of the movie Newsies, seeing the show on Broadway was a priority. We also braved the pouring rain to visit the Statue of Liberty, and ate authentic New York deli sandwiches. Still, one of our favorite places was visiting Discovery Times Square where they were featuring a brand new exhibit called Marvels Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. This was much more than simply a museum walk-through, it was like being immersed in the events that might have taken place after The Avengers movie ended.
S.T.A.T.I.O.N. stands for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network which describes the scenario that forms the basis of your experience. In this exhibit, each person is training to potentially be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The experience involves utilizing your skills in different areas, exploring your potential, and gaining a deeper understanding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a realistic way. You explore the effects of radiation on skin cells, interact with cybernetic technology and biomechanical engineering, engage in tests of accuracy, strength, and speed, and discover hypothetical new chemical compounds. It engages children (and adults) creatively in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a very sophisticated way.
But why is this so important? These four fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics also referred to as STEM – are a vital part of our children’s lives and future. We continue to grow increasingly reliant on advancing technologies, technologies that were once the hallmark of American ingenuity. The U.S. Department of Commerce shows STEM jobs are increasing by 17%, nearly double the growth rate of other occupations. The Labor Department shows that in 2009, eight of the top ten most wanted employees were all in STEM fields. But as President Obama pointed out in a speech a few years ago, “…the hard truth is that for decades we’ve been losing ground. One assessment shows American 15-year-olds now rank 21st in science and 25th in math when compared to their peers around their world.” Another report by the Commerce Department shows that by 2018 there will be 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs “because the workforce (in America) will not possess the necessary skills or interest to fill them.” As parents, it would be smart to continue to encourage our kids to become more involved and interested in STEM fields. Not only are they a part of our lives, but they are increasingly important to our economy and society and can ensure a stable future for our children. Studies show that parents play a significant role in the influence of a child’s interest in STEM fields. By encouraging them and finding different ways to engage them in learning, you can affect the future of your children’s lives.
By partnering up with Victory Hill Exhibitions as well as NASA, the Science & Entertainment Exchange, and others to bring to life the Avengers in New York City at Discovery Times Square, Marvel has created a fun and truly enlightening experience. By making kids a part of the Avengers world, they will be treated to such unique experiences as making Iron Man’s arm mimic their own, testing their strength against Captain America, and seeing how gamma radiation might have affected the Hulk. This isn’t your ordinary exhibition.
Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is slated to run at Discovery Times Square through January 4, 2015.