Research shows by the time students reach the 4th grade, 1/3 of boys and girls have lost interest in science, that's according to a recent report by the National Science Teacher Associations. That same report says by 8th grade, almost 50% find it irrelevant to their education and future. But the STEM Summer Camp is trying to turn that statistic around, one student at a time.
Inside FSU-PC's Holley Academic Center stands the future scientist and engineers of Northwest Florida as they take part in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Summer Camp, also known as STEM.
"Some classes that are regular class can be boring, where you are just doing textbook and work and these are actual hands-on activities and it makes it really exciting," said 9th grader Reilly Thomes.
The camp is designed to reignite the passion of these subjects among students.
"The U.S. falls behind in the number of scientist and engineers that are graduated from colleges every year," said STEM Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Ed Linsenmeyer.
It's a statistic that worries Linsenmeyer.
"We have been playing catch up with those students as they go through middle school and high school, as we are trying to reinstall an inertest in science," he added.
For many students going into STEM careers can be intimidating but this camp shows by building and programming their own robot, that they can be successful.
"It's a little bit difficult in a way but I feel like if I really want to do it I could do it," said 10th grader Midrell Pittman.
"It shows you that you actually get to start it and do it from scratch and at the end of the week you actually get to do it yourselves and your teachers didn't tell you how to do everything," said 10th grader Zane Shafer.
At the camp this week, the 100 high schoolers built robots and programmed missions, researched marine life in the bay and built a solar LED light that will ultimately be shipped off to countries like Haiti and Honduras.
School Board Member Ginger Littleton is heavily involved with STEM at FSU-PC. She is a strong advocate of pushing teachers to incorporate STEM inside the classroom.
"Students don't lose that passion, adults sometimes suck it out of them and we have to stop doing that," Littleton said.