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Schools are teaming up with 4-H for STEM education, investigating natural sciences under a USDA grant financed program in Richmond and Anson counties in North Carolina.

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The first students to participate in the 4-H STEM Education & Science Literacy Project will be second graders.  Students from one or more grades will be added yearly.  By 2019-2020, students in kindergarten through fifth grade are scheduled to participate.

“We’re trying to educate the whole child in all aspects of their life,” said Kristy Burja, regional STEM education coordinator for the N.C. Cooperative Extension.

The program includes field trips, classroom lessons, and science kits children can take home and complete with parents.

While schools in both counties work with 4-H agents, the grant will allow universities to develop the STEM programs in order that teachers can be more comfortable in their own abilities. When teachers can present children with more learning opportunities themselves, children are more engaged and test scores increase.

The grant is a Children, Families and Youths at Risk grant, which is from a congressional appropriation to 4-H Extension services for programs that target children who attend schools that serve at-risk youth and families.  Often, those schools do not have the resources for STEM curriculum development or teacher training.

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