Early Elementary students get a unique hands-on learning experience

Early Elementary students get a unique hands-on learning experience

EARLY, Texas - There was a lot of excitement at Early Elementary School as students returned from spring break.

An educational, traveling trailer, sponsored by 3M, visited Brownwood and Early for the first time on Monday. Known as the Trailblazer, the trailer holds a variety of science and engineering exhibits, geared toward 3rd through 8th graders.

The students got a hands-on experience as they walked through the trailer and learned about space, aerodynamics, biotechnology, energy, weather and more.

"The goal of this is to travel around the state to various schools and to get kids interested in science and engineering so hopefully as they progress through school, they'll take more science class, and engineering courses when they get into college," said Brownwood's 3M human resources Gregg Rice. "Engineers are something that we need desperately. The earlier we can get kids interested in a field, the better."

Rice added that 3M is trying to get as many female and minority children interested in these fields.

"We'd like our employees to match our customers, which are very diverse...that's what makes us so creative and innovative," said Rice. "Down the road, when these kids get out of college, if they want to come back to the Brownwood and Early area, it helps us out too. it provides us a labor pool that we can hopefully draw from for engineers in the future."

Fourth grader Jake Simpson said Monday's lesson made him feel more confident about what he wants to be when he grows up.

"I already wanted to be an engineer but this makes me want to be one even more."

The exhibits were also helpful for 4th grader Sidney Becktold.

"I want to be in NASA, preferable mission control and I know NASA deals with all these things that we're learning," said Becktold. "I'm going to study harder and learn better."

The school counselor, Sharon Watson, said she appreciates having the trailer on campus for the day. "It's great to see the kids' faces light up and it's really opened their eyes up to a lot of career opportunities that are out there for them."

There are only 2 "Trailblazer" trailers in Texas, and when they're not visiting schools, they're stationed in Austin. They have been on the road since 1992. The newest one arrived this past June and since then, about 6,000 kids have gone through it.

This particular trailer will be at Brownwood Intermediate School on Tuesday, and then it will head towards Waco on Wednesday.

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