BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some Biloxi students spent the week learning how to create cars that are kind to the environment at the first STEM [Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics] Summer Camp at Biloxi Junior High.
It was a friendly race with no finish line. The goal - get the cars to go as far as possible, dodging obstacles along the way.
"It was pretty challenging," said sixth-grader Lily Griffith.
More than 20 students from fifth through eighth grades built the race cars from kits. They had to figure out the right kind of salt and water, and the perfect mixture, to power the fuel cells.
"I didn't know they could be run by saltwater. I thought that was kind of cool," said sixth grader Bruce Miller.
Instructors from Keesler Air Force Base mentored the students.
"They're figuring out what pieces went where and at the very end, they saw the car go from a hunk of plastic to an actual car that they actually got to test and make work. It was awesome to see that," said Keesler AFB Finance Management Instructor Vince Jervier.
The camp can fuel a passion for STEM-related careers.
"They shut down: 'I don't want to do this. I don't like this. I'm not going to excel in this.' If we get them at an early enough age, I think we can change their minds and we can show them, 'Hey, you can do this. Science is not hard. Math is not hard,'" said Biloxi Junior High STEM Lead Teacher Jannet Davis.
The final lap on Friday showed the students were willing to go the distance to get a jump-start on their education and future.
The winner of the race received movie tickets. The students attended the camp for free, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.