LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Some Long Beach students are learning how to design bridges, build walls, and figure out how to keep an egg afloat. On Wednesday, Reeves Elementary School launched a new learning lab where students have to use their knowledge and creativity to solve real-world problems.
Students, teachers and community leaders gathered at Reeves Elementary to celebrate the opening of the STEM Lab. Inside the room are eight stations, each with a different science, technology, engineering and math challenge.
At one table, students have to build a free-standing tower using items like gum drops, spaghetti, newspapers and note cards.
"My favorite part would be the buoyancy test. We're trying to make an egg float in salt water," said third grader Abby Smith.
"It's floating! Look at that beautiful egg!" she exclaimed as she conducted the experiment.
"I think it's really nice for all the kids in the school to just come through and experience how fun and great it is to learn how to do these activities," she said.
The hands-on projects will allow students to design, construct and put their creativity to work.
"Children are born engineers. They play and build and take things apart and put it together and they ask questions and they're naturally curious and creative. STEM education is probably our future. These children are the future science, technology, engineering, math leaders of our country. It's important that education starts at the lowest level," said Jill Lipski, Reeves Elementary School STEM Project Director.
The community pitched-in to make the STEM Lab a reality. CLIMB CDC built the shelves. The school's PTO provided the IPADS, and a $5,000 grant from Ingalls Shipbuilding allowed the school to purchase engineering kits. Each kit contains a problem for students to solve, like how to keep rabbits out of a garden.
"We've done some fun hands-on activities in here too with math. We've got little plants growing over there, because we have a pollination unit. So yeah, the kids are really excited," said Lipski.
"I think it's good for children to come and discover how fun science, technology, engineering and math is and how you can use it for your life," said third grader Kaitlyn Stevens.
The experience has opened up the students' eyes and their minds to future careers.
"I don't know which one, but I'd like to be an engineer," said third grader Eli Hodges.
"I think it's a really good experience for everybody at the school, because if you want to be an engineer when you grow up, you can learn about all the stuff here and you can get a head start," said third grader Caroline Taylor.
Reeves Elementary is inviting engineers and other experts in STEM-related fields to come to the lab to share their knowledge and experience with the students and teachers.