Bosco Tech program turns kids into amateur scientists

ROSEMEAD - Nearly 200 local elementary and middle school students are enjoying dissecting lamb hearts, building and operating robots, and learning algebraic equations this summer in the high school labs of Don Bosco Technical Institute through the school's Tech Scholar program.The five-week program exposes younger students to applied STEM (science, engineering and math) education. Wrapping up only its second summer, the hands-on, lab-based curriculum doubled in size to 190 students. "There's a definite need in this country to expose kids to STEM education at the grade school level in a way that sparks their imagination and fuels their passion for learning," said Rudy Herrera, Bosco Tech's director of education. "Young people need hands-on experience with science and technology. We want to teach them the language of science; we see that as a part of our mission." Nationally, STEM programs focus primarily on high school-level education, but Bosco Tech is focusing on elementary school-aged children, believing they will benefit from early exposure to science and technology. The seventh and eighth grade students, for whom the Tech Scholar program is free, are selected to participate through a competitive process, based on an aptitude for science and math. The program is divided into four components, each taught by a Bosco Tech faculty member. The curriculum includes study skills, a science workshop, a course in electrical engineering and computer science, and ends with an introductory course in algebra. "We want to create a smooth transition from elementary to high school and dramatically increase a student's opportunity to succeed at a four-year college or university," said Herrera.

********** Published: August 11, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 17