How about some iron-filled gruel and a static electricity balloon race to get your Friday off to a great start?
Those two things, and much more, will greet nearly 350 teachers from 190 schools representing 45 area districts when they enter Burns & McDonnell Friday morning.
It is all part of the Second Annual Educators Summit, designed to get teachers ready to engage their students, K through 12, in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
According to Travis Jackson, one of the teachers at Burns & McDonnell, nearly 7,700 STEM jobs were available in Kansas City last year. However, only a fraction was filled.
Nationwide, only 16 percent of high school students are considering a career in the STEM fields while jobs requiring those skills are growing at seven times the rate of non-STEM jobs.
Those are amazing numbers.
More amazing? The educational fun the teachers have Friday morning and the educational fun they then pass on to their students.
For example, Jackson took some high iron cereal, created a porridge even The Three Bears would reject, and then used a powerful magnet to actually isolate the iron!
We also had a race using one’s head, a balloon and a pop can. The wonders of static electricity!
These are two examples of the low-cost, easy-to-replicate experiments teachers can take back to school.
That school bell will be ringing in just a few more days, and for the students of these educators the new year holds a whole new way to “grow futures together.”
Somewhere, Bill Nye and Mr. Wizard are smiling!
Joel Nichols can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.