Strengthening Math and Science Skills - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Strengthening Math and Science Skills

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The United States Department of Education promotes education across the nation, and some studies show the U.S. lags in math and science globally.

According to the National Math and Science initiative, U.S. students recently finished 25th in math and 17th in science in the ranking of 31 countries.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released this statement in December: "This is unacceptable if our schools are to live up to the American promise of giving all children a world-class education. Given the vital role that science, technology, engineering, and math play in stimulating innovation and economic growth, it is particularly troubling that eight-grade science achievement is stagnant and that students in Singapore and Korea are far more likely to perform at advanced levels in science than U.S. students."

In efforts to strengthen math and science skills local students are getting involved in hands-on contests like robotics building.

In the contest students have to use geometry, physics and other science skills to build and move their robots.

"I personally was not a fan of math and science, I honestly hated it, but now I'm a senor this year and it's really fun. I enjoy it and it's really helped me expand what I knew about math and science," said Nathaniel Bunch. Bunch is a home schooled science student who spends a majority of his time outside his studies working with his robotics team. They've competed in three world competitions.

Chad Johnson, NPPD education specialist and a robotics coach in Aurora said, "Our work force is desperately low in engineering and math related workers. There are jobs available so we got to get these kids excited so they pick the right career path."

Students said they're pretty excited to apply their classroom education to their robotics teams and possibly in a career not too far in their future.

"I've got to meet a lot of other kids from other countries; it's really a neat experience you get to meet a lot of engineering people doing the same kind of things you want to do when you grow up," said senior robotics competitor Josiah Krutz.

McKenna Powell, a robotics competitor, said she recommends students take on hands-on activities to expand their education.

Powell said "I would try this instead, it's a lot more interesting than reading your science book or doing biology or graphs; It's hands-on, it's getting you to compete with others, and it's just as exciting as sports."

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