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Students Treated to Unique Science Lesson During STEM Camp

An unusual experiment left a St. Francis classroom looking like a bakery. Students at St. Francis spent Monday morning frosting cupcakes and learning the building blocks of science.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) An unusual experiment left a St. Francis classroom looking like a bakery Monday.

Students at St. Francis frosted cupcakes as part of a science lesson.

"The more hands-on experiments you give them, the more interest you build in their science inquiry. They may not even realize what they're doing is science," said Principal Darin Pollard.

The 4th through 8th graders are in STEM Summer Camp, learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The cupcake project is a lesson in technical writing.

"Maybe something very simple that we thought everybody could do, but if you don't get your explanations down, and then you have to implement it the way that you wrote it, you might have problems if you didn't get the details down," said Pollard.

These skills are becoming the new focus for schools across the country.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that STEM jobs will grow by 17% between 2008 and 2018.

The worry is filling those positions.

"We need to realize how vital it is, and how there will be millions of programming jobs, but not millions of people to program," said teacher Joanne Bateman.

A recent study says that 3.7 million jobs in the U.S. are unclaimed, partly because businesses can't find qualified workers.

So, instructors at St. Francis are trying to prepare students at an early age.

"It's more of a constructivist idea, where they're developing their own knowledge of the science which is really neat because they have fun first," said Bateman.

"I'm hoping that these students will be able to take these experiments and ideas home and expand upon them, expand upon their knowledge, and expand their interest," said Pollard.

Bateman hopes the students will find some passion.

"I hope they gain a love of science. I want them to understand that science is not scary. It's fun," she said.

Something fun for now that hopefully leads to a strong workforce in the future.

Instructors hope to make the camp two weeks long next year, and eventually make it a school-wide course.
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