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Science in the Summer brings hands-on fun to reservations

More than 13,000 children participated in a hands-on science education program in 2016 at museums, science centers, libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs, and – in a first for the GSK Science in the Summer™ program – powwows and community centers on Native American reservations in Montana.

“The Flathead Indian Reservation, one of Montana’s seven reservations, is home to the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille tribes. The reservation’s schools serve 4,500 students, 1,400 of whom are native. Bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education into the community in a culturally relevant way is a major goal of the hands-on science center known as the spectrUM Discovery Center that is part of the University of Montana at Missoula, and a partner organization on the Flathead reservation, known as SciNation,” said Jessie Herbert, spectrUM’s STEM education program manager.

“We primarily try to do this by connecting young students with local and native role models who do science as their education or career,” Jessie said. “This was also how we approached the physical science curriculum from ‘Science in the Summer.’”

Drawing upon a long history of bringing science programming to the Flathead community, spectrUM and SciNation participated in Science in the Summer for the first time in 2016, leading more than 2,200 adults and children, 1,720 of whom were native, in science experiments in Montana over the summer.

The GSK Science in the Summer program, which is in its 31st year of operation, now reaches more than 25,000 kids across the country per year, and has nearly 200,000 alumni to date. Most recently, the 2017 program focused on the Science of Sports – allowing kids to explore how their favorite sporting activities link to STEM.

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