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Caldwell students get hands-on learning experience of 'Jurassic' proportions

Last June, 10 Caldwell High School students flew to Los Angeles to participate in the 'Jurassic World Rule Your Future STEAM Symposium.'

CALDWELL, Idaho — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by CapEd Credit Union.

This past summer, 10 Caldwell High School students flew to Los Angeles to participate in the Jurassic World Rule Your Future STEAM Symposium. The STEAM initiative aims to inspire and engage students through disciplines in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. 

“It was a partnership that grew between Comcast and the Council for Opportunity in Education, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Pictures,” Educational Specialist for the Boise State University Trio Upward Bound Program at Caldwell High School, Joshua Engler said.

The program is one of eight federally-funded trio programs that serve students from lower-income families who are first-generation college-bound students. 

Last June, Engler and his students spent the weekend in Los Angeles. They got a backlot tour of Universal Studios Hollywood, went to the STEAM college and career fair, and met with different STEAM-related organizations and companies. 

“Who would've thought to make a dinosaur come to life you would need engineering, science technology, so we are making it accessible for our students to,” organizers behind the symposium said. “They're experiencing live steam demos.” 

The students also went on rides and attended a special private event with the actresses, director, co-writer and paleontologist who worked on the Jurassic World Dominion Film. 

“I think we were the only Idaho school that was a part of it,” Engler said. 

The students were selected to participate in the program after the school had been implementing pilot curriculum in the fall. Engler said the students all expressed interest in biology and DNA.

“It was life changing for the students," Engler said. "For some of the students, it was the first time they had ever flown on an airplane before for some of them, the first time they'd ever gotten to the ocean before and we got to do things like go to IN-N-Out."

The Caldwell students also were surprised with brand new laptops and a screening of the Jurassic World Dominion Film before it was released.

“I think it helps students see what's possible and for our students who are able to go and have this experience, after you have those, it changes what you see as possible,” Engler said. 

Engler said the program is in its pilot stages, so he could not release too many details about the curriculum right now. 

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Educators, for information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit www.capedfoundation.org.

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