In the 1960s, it was easy to get kids excited about science with America's race to the Moon. Many elementary and junior high classes actually stopped so the students could watch a launch of a giant rocket or a broadcast from a capsule on its way from the Earth to the Moon.

What about now? There is so much in the science world that kids might like to explore. A National Science Foundation grant to Montana State University will enable a summer session for Montana's elementary teachers to get some ideas about bringing science to the classroom.

MSU will have a 6-week program next summer that will give 10 Montana teachers some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) training, working alongside researchers and scientists in Bozeman. The $600,000 grant will allow MSU to offer the summer series for three consecutive summers.

Project leader professor Paul Gannon has an ambitious plan focusing on energy that includes field trips to energy facilities like dams, oil refineries and solar arrays. The program is called Research Experience for Teachers in Engineering and will include workshops on how to create a STEM lesson plan.

Gannon said in a news release, "Our goal is to provide teachers with an authentic research experience that they can take back to their classrooms and inspire the next generation of engineers and other STEM professionals, especially among students who might not otherwise think of that as a career option."

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Project co-leader Rebekah Hammack of the MSU Department of Education will help teachers create lesson plans and will be available to participating teachers throughout the following school year. She said, "I think this can open up a whole new world for elementary teachers and help them build their confidence and knowledge to do awesome activities with their students."

The deadline for teachers to apply for the June 2022 session is February 4th. More information is available at the MSU news site.

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