Detroit Public Schools partner with U.S. Army to help kids succeed

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Public Schools have forged a partnership with the U.S. Army.  It's a partnership aimed at shining the light on STEM education. 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

7th grader James Whittaker is pumped for the days activities. 

"The reason this day is exciting for me is because I love the STEM curriculum," Whittaker said.

Whittaker was among more than a dozen students participating in the forensics activity. 

Wednesday s the third anniversary for STEM day. Since its inception, it has been hosted at Carver Elementary School. 

Whittaker is part of an effort to engage, empower and excite interest in STEM education. 

"My favorite part of the day is like the math, the science because that's basically the field I want to get into," Whittaker said.

He's only in the 7th grade and already has his eyes forward focused. 

"I was thinking of biomedical engineering which is making like the parts that go inside your body," Whittaker tells Action news.

Since the start the DPS has partnered with TARDEC, the Army's major research, development and engineering center for the Army Materiel Command's Research, Development and Engineering Command headquartered at the Army's Detroit Arsenal in Warren.

For the 100 kids participating in STEM day, the day will be filled with a number of hands-on activities. 

In one classroom, you find students learning how police detectives raise fingerprints from the crime scene.

 In another, you see students timing chemical reactions inline with how chemists in the lab may complete tests and across the hall you find a number of students lighting their experiments on fire. 

All of this in the name of STEM and in an effort to engage, empower and excite students.

So why is STEM education so important?  Why are DPS educators engaging kids so early?  You could say that it's all in the numbers. 

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, STEM jobs are projected to grow by 17 precent compared to fewer than 10% for non-stem professions.

"I take a lot of like things to look forward to like say if I wanted to switch careers, I could go to one of those and know what I'm getting into. It's like giving me a little experience without actually going to there," Whittaker said of the different workshops. Each workshop provided a glimpse into various STEM career fields.

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