Putting math and science back in the hands of students

By: Ashley Prchal Email
By: Ashley Prchal Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A new pilot program is fueling students' desire to learn science, technology, engineering and math.

“I think it's fun! I like it,” says 5th grade student.

Math and science are cool! That's what New Emerson School and the John McConnell Math and Science Center are trying to teach students with hands on experiments.

“Two of them are probably lower jars,” says 5th grade student.

This lesson is teaching 5th graders at New Emerson about birds of prey and adaptation. Focusing on the owl and trying to find what prey lives in its habitat, by dissecting owl pellets.

“We found a feather and some of those bones don't exactly fit the rodents,” says 5th grade student.

While these experiments sound disgusting, “We found a third rat head,” says 5th grade student. They are part of a bigger picture.

“If you look at them they're all so engaged and the hands on is really meaningful to them,” says Waiola Horn, 5th grade teacher.

The STEM program which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is new to New Emerson's curriculum. It's a hands-on program that teaches kids K through 5th grade, how to apply their science studies to real life.

“We have free explore sessions, so they can find out what interests them and then we let the kids choose what they want to become an expert on in each area,” says Horn.

Horn says STEM is a pilot program that's making math and science more exciting by targeting what kids want to learn.

“We just let them find their passion and so they keep engaged instead of saying you have to do this,” says Horn.

Teresa Coons Executive Director for the math and science center says with school budget cuts and more of a focus on standardized testing, math and science education are taking a back seat.

“We're hoping to help revive that and help the kids understand the importance of having that kind of education in their everyday schedule,” says Coons.

This re–focusing on science education is something New Emerson students absolutely don't mind.

“It's cool,” says 5th grade student.

If you would like to get your kids more involved in math and science, the center has many programs coming up, including an after school engineering club.

For more information or to register, contact the John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado at (970) 254-1626.

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