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The Need for STEM

Now, more than ever, North Dakota needs Gateway to Science

North Dakota needs creative problem solving, science, critical thinking, and creativity. Our children need Gateway to Science.

STEM skills are universal, transferable, and adaptable across industries and occupations. Since 1994, North Dakota’s Gateway to Science (NDGTS) is a trusted resource for educators, parents, and students. NDGTS provides hands-on learning opportunities in the gallery and through outreach programs across the state. North Dakota needs students and citizens engaged with STEM to grow and prosper—it needs Gateway to Science.

Connecting Students to STEM

North Dakota’s Gateway to Science (NDGTS) has a track record of innovation, a statewide network of partners in education, industry, and government, and the space and programs to serve all North Dakotans. NDGTS sees an exceptional opportunity to connect students of all ages and backgrounds to STEM happening around them.

According to the National Science Teachers Association, “the learning experiences delivered by parents, friends and educators in informal environments can spark student interest in science and provide opportunities to broaden and deepen student’s engagement; reinforce scientific concepts and practices introduced during the school day; and promote an appreciation for, and interest in, the pursuit of science in school and in daily life.”

Informal learning environments like NDGTS also offer “important and unique opportunities to engage students who come from communities historically underrepresented in the sciences,” including women and black, Hispanic and American Indian students.

STEM at the Science Center

The science center’s emphasis on hands-on exploration is key. Our exhibits, out-of-school time programs, and special events align with state and national science standards. They are designed to build on the instruction students receive in the classroom with interactive, creative experiences. The Education Commission of the States reports North Dakota 8th grade students are less likely than their peers in other states to engage in hands-on science investigation in school. NDGTS programming addresses this gap and offers students hands-on education before they encounter lab science courses in high school.

STEM Gallery and Exhibits

The hands-on exhibit gallery tells the story of innovation and opportunity in North Dakota to visitors of all ages. The gallery features major North Dakota industries and resources—energy, agriculture, health care, transportation, water, weather, and engineering. We collaborated with Science Museum of Minnesota to design exhibits that are:

    • hands-on and provide open-ended learning opportunities,
    • focus on STEM careers,
    • inspire creativity and problem-solving,
    • demonstrate real-world applications, and
    • spotlight innovation.

Innovation Space

The second floor of the new gallery features the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Innovation Space, a 7,800-square-foot innovation/maker space. The flexible space provides an opportunity for organizations and community members to convene and collaborate. It is all about education, cooperation, and community development.

Classrooms and Lab

The education wing is the home of the Frank Koch Lab, which features two indoor classroom and lab spaces to host programming. NDGTS offers multiple workshops, after school clubs, and summer camps. In the summer of 2024, the education wing will expand to include the Outdoor Classroom, which will expand STEM learning opportunities to the outdoors even more.

Educational Outreach

Gateway to Science on the Go delivers diverse programming with a focus on reaching underrepresented communities in North Dakota and multi-generational learning. For that reason, NDGTS educators travel across the state to provide hands-on learning opportunities to students all around the state.

Answering the Need for STEM

North Dakota’s Gateway to Science has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, and the need for its programs continue to become more urgent. More than ever, North Dakota needs North Dakota’s Gateway to Science and what it offers our children, workforce, and future.