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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – We hear it far too often.

American children lag behind the rest of the developed world in Science.

A few years back, graduate students at Mississippi State decided to do something about that, so they formed the Starkville Science Club.

Fourth through sixth graders have been experimenting ever since.

Late Tuesday afternoon’s are fantastically busy at one building in the back of the Henderson Ward Stewart Campus.

This year, 100 applications came in for about 50 spots in the Starkville Science Club.

Dr. Jessica Tegt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University.

She says, ” We do have college level science programming for them for 2 and and half hours , so 3 until 5:30.”

Impressive, especially given that Mississippi ranks 49th in Science education.

Dr. Tegt adds, ” We’re trying to turn that trend around by offering science programming at this age level, (it) sparks their interest, gets them thinking about future careers, makes them globally competitive when they reach the college level and beyond.”

By 4:00 in the afternoon, most 4th and 5th graders have typically had more than their fill of learning for the day.

What keeps these kids’ interests piqued?

Guille Hoffman is a fifth grader at Henderson Intermediate.

He says,  “Because, I thought it was fun, and I really prefer Science Club over school, really.”

I asked, ” Why is that?”

Guille responded, ” I think it’s a lot more interesting, because in 5th grade, you only get recess 3 times a week.”

When we caught up with them, the youngsters were learning what makes them different from strawberries, on the cellular level.

Kathy Li is also a 5th grader at Henderson Intermediate.

She says, ” I think DNA is really cool, because there are many different types of DNA. I think that’s really cool and unique.”

And that’s just one lesson!

Guille remembers, ” I like the frog dissection we did a couple of weeks ago.”

Kathy Li adds, ” Well, we can’t do experiments in school, just sit there and listen to the teacher talk.”

Science Club has a way of bringing lessons to life, and that’s a building block for a love of learning.

Kathy Li concludes, ” It’s too good for words to describe them.”

Science Club is free for the kids, and they get a snack!

It stays afloat through grants from the Department of Wildlife, and donations from Mississippi State. The Starkville School District lets the club use it’s building for free.

More donations are always welcome.

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