STEM Education Keeps Zombies at Bay

STEM Education Keeps Zombies at Bay

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Editor's note: This post was written by Chris Correa, Media Strategist at Ashoka Changemakers.
The early entry deadline for Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science + Technology + Engineering + Math Education is today at 5PM EDT. But that's not the only STEM-related issue to stay on top of! Now for something completely different.

Recently the CDC issued a public health checklist that succinctly describes what to do in the event of a zombie attack. Don't believe us? Here's the link. From a public service standpoint, people should now be fairly ready for what to expect. A young student in Virginia is bringing STEM education learning processes to the subject. Should there be a (yes) zombie invasion, Akira Snowden queries, will we be ready for it?

Snowden and her fellow students enrolled in Zombie Science Camp this summer view it as a serious, relevant question. This week, they are studying, doing experiments, and learning about what survival skills would be needed to ensure survival if zombies were to infiltrate the population.

The camp is a part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summer Adventure program sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research. Primarily for students in third through twelfth grades, the 11 sessions are designed to be a fun way to learn STEM topics.

Zombies are not the only unique subjects to study. Other sessions include exploring Mayan pyramids, building robots and dissecting animals. One class focuses on encouraging young women to enter the high-demand field of engineering. All classes involve group work and lots of hands-on learning activities.

Says Nancy Combs, the K-12 STEM Academic Program Coordinator at the Institute: 

“STEM education is fun. And it is hands on. That is important. When it is hands-on it usually means it turns their minds on.”

So what do we need to know in order to better understand -- and avoid -- zombies? Learnings around DNA show how a disease, like “zombification,” infects a person. The students will later study self-sufficiency topics like filtering water and windmill power since these things would be crucial post-zombie apocalypse. While dead people do not walk the Earth (yet), the subject matter is still useful, especially for students interested in science.

Snowden, who wants to study to be a veterinarian, puts it well:

“I originally wanted to go to the biology camp because I heard they get to cut up a frog,” said Akira Snowden. “But my mom wanted me in this one instead. But I like it too.”
How does STEM education impact your life? If you're interested in the -- as you can see -- diverse and exciting avenues that it can take the learning process, or if you have an idea that will help revolutionize the current curriculum structures, there's still time to enter Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science + Technology + Engineering + Math Education. Got a friend or colleague who is working to improve education? Nominate them by using that link. STEM learning: It's important, it's fun -- and it wards off zombies. [Go Dan River]

Photo courtesy of eschipul(cc)

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