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'STEM Matters' event draws hundreds of students to the Capitol

The second, third and fourth floors of the Capitol rotunda were filled with hundreds of students eager to learn about STEM education.

Industry leaders from the Idaho National Laboratory and the Micron Foundation joined students, parents and teachers to advocate for science, technology, engineering and math in K-12 education.

Some of the nation's leaders in the tech industry are found here in Idaho, but for years they were forced to acquire talent from other states. By providing STEM education in schools, industry leaders hope to create a talent pipeline for the future.

"Those jobs will be here and we want to make sure that we have the work force of the future so we're able to compete," said Micron Foundation Executive Director, Dee Mooney.

The STEM Action Center says Idaho's tech sector is growing rapidly at 6.3 percent. That puts us on the map as the second fastest in the nation. All the more reason industry leaders say Idaho students need to be STEM-literate.

But the STEM Action Center is working to make it fun for children to develop critical thinking and collaboration skills.

At Tuesday's event, kids were able to play with robots, create animations with 'Rugrats' CEO, Terry Thoren, and learn all about the laws of physics with race cars and wind tunnels. They were even able to explore virtual reality using a special set of goggles.

It's a hands-on approach that kids say they love. A group of Whittier Elementary students told KBOI 2News that their favorite subjects were science and math.

Gavin Cichoski, a Barbara Morgan STEM Academy student, says his favorite part was playing with the robots. But don't let his young age fool you, he was actually helping teach other students how to use iPads to control robots at Tuesday's event.


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