Middle School Students Study STEM Careers - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

By Ohlone College.

Young students learn web design and JavaScript coding.

Sixty middle school students visited Ohlone College to take part in Career Exploration Week, a camp sponsored by Ohlone for Kids and Teens at Ohlone College’s Center for Health Sciences and Technology. The program gives students in grades 6 – 8 an opportunity to explore degree and career programs in the high-demand, high tech fields that are relevant to our region.

Students attended classes in one of three career pathways, Biotechnology, Engineering, or Web Development. These courses, taught by college faculty, allowed students to participate in lectures/discussions on the topic and to gain hands-on lab experience.

Unique activities were presented in each of the career options. The biotechnology pathway introduced students to basic lab skills and processes. Students learned about cell structure and DNA, while participating in labs where they used sterile techniques to grow bacteria and learn how enzymes are used to make cheese.

Students learning about the field of engineering used design software to create 3-D models and then printed their designs on 3-D printers. Students also built their own “snap circuits” to help them understand electric circuits.

Professor Nita Sharma demonstrates biotech lab skills.

Students interested in computers took the web development course and learned the fundamentals of HTML and JavaScript. They designed mockup web pages, learned how to convert the designs into real web pages and created interactive content for web pages. The exciting, hands-on activities gave the students an in-depth view of each career pathway through a fun and informative learning process.

“This is a perfect way to let kids explore topics they typically don’t see until college. The kids enjoyed their classes so much that we had a difficult time getting them to take a break for lunch,” said Kate Giuffra, director of the program. “It’s important to develop their interest in science and technology while they are young.”

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