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$4 million grant will help teach computer coding skills to rural Missouri students

University of Missouri program earns grant to help advance STEM education in underserved Missouri school districts.

Transcript

Consiglio: One of the biggest challenges facing educators currently is how to encourage more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, more commonly referred to as stem. Experience with computer coding is one the most critical skills needed for stem careers, but the skill is often not taught until the high school or college level.

Now, with the help of a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. department of education, the university of Missouri’s eMINTS national center will help fifth grade students in rural Missouri school districts learn computer coding skills while creating their own video games. The grant’s primary investigator, Carla Chaffin, says the project is aimed to incorporate math and science curriculum while giving students the opportunity to be creative and have fun.

Chaffin: “I was super excited to think kids could not only play video games, but make their own video games, their own stories, and in that process of making that game, learn important math and science concepts.”

Consiglio: Chaffin hopes the project may spark the students’ interest in potentially pursuing a career in stem while teaching them a transferrable skill they can utilize after they graduate.

Chaffin: “Our goal is to get students interested in computer science careers but also even if they don’t pursue that career, to have those skills with the critical thinking and the computational thinking so they become great problem solvers, and also to really tie in that creative side of learning to help them with basic learning concepts that some struggle with, so it’s an opportunity for them to really blossom.”

Consiglio: I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

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