MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether it was in a challenging math class or a science lab, students have often asked themselves: Why am I learning this?

“[Teachers] always say, ‘You’re gonna need it when you grow up.’ And I’m like, I didn’t think you would,” said eighth-grader Hannah Johnson.

Eighth graders from the Isanti-Cambridge School District said Tuesday they’re not sure how they’ll use some of what they learn in class after they graduate. The truth is, however, people use math and science every day – even if we don’t realize it.

That’s why many districts across the state are integrating the STEM program into the curriculum. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. On Tuesday, the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce held a STEM Summit, where 15 professionals talked with students about how they apply those skills to their jobs.

“The kids get an opportunity to see what real life stuff is going on out there. Whether it’s nursing or taking a casting and making it shiny for a Harley Davidson, this is real life stuff,” said Andy Larsen, a Motek-Team Industries employee.

The creators of the STEM program believe early exposure to what types of jobs are out there helps students plan future career.

At the summit, WCCO-TV meteorologist Lauren Casey demonstrated how she uses math and science to forecast the weather. The WCCO Mobile Weather Watcher served as a hands on tool for the kids to try.

Johnson said she wants to be a meteorologist when she grows up. The summit helped her understand how important it is to pay attention in class.

“[Casey] was saying we have to know the equations having to predict the forecast. You don’t want to tell people the wrong weather,” Johnson said.

Larsen added: “The younger the people start, and the better the education they get, the better quality people we get in the field. There’s always a demand.”


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