A Science and Math Expo held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is giving middle school students the opportunity to immerse themselves in education involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The expo, the product of a partnership between UWL and Gundersen Health System, offers students the chance to showcase experiments, tests and games developed using science and math.
Elias McCool, Noah Bjerke-Wieser and Jackson Conroy are all sixth graders at La Crescent Middle School. Together, they created a board game called "Minn-opoly," a spin-off of the popular Monopoly.
"You roll the dice and you move that many spaces around the board," McCool said. "Then you can buy the properties or they can be auctioned off.
The game involves addition, subtraction and multiplication, something the boys enjoy.
"There's a bunch of math and math is my favorite subject," Conroy said.
McCool, a sixth grader, will begin tenth grade math next year as a seventh grader.
"Math has always come easy to me and I want to be a aerospace engineer when I grow up," he said. "So designing planes, which there's a lot of thermodynamics and aerodynamics involved with math being a big part of that."
According to the Census Bureau, women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, but just 24 percent of STEM workers.
Some students, like Emme Sanders and Taylor Lukaszewski are looking to change that statistic.
"I like math more than science," Sanders said. "I want to be a design engineer when I get older, so I like designing but I also like the math part."
Susan Kelly, a professor mathematics at UWL, said middle school is the perfect time to educate students about careers and opportunities in math and science.
"This is a time where students start getting prepared for high school where they'll make choices on what classes they're going to take and we want to make sure they stay in science and math," she said.
UWL will offer several science and math camps this June. For more information on those, check out the UWL website.