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South suburban students learning in new STEM lab

South suburban students learning in new STEM lab
South suburban students learning in new STEM lab 04:02

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Kids these days know so much about technology, it's second nature.

CBS 2's Ryan Baker and producer Edie Kasten paid a visit to a new lab that's teaching students in the south suburbs about  science, technology, engineering and math, know as STEM.

Students are utilizing the brand new lab at Posen-Robbins School District 143-5 where they built a 6-foot Ferris wheel out of "Connect" parts. 

"We engineered a zigzag pattern which evenly distributes the stress of the weight of the wheel," a student told CBS 2.

Everybody had a job during the project. 


The STEM lab opened to great fanfare in mid-April, after the district got a $50,000 grant from the state of Illinois.

"I loved it," another student said. "It's just fantastic." 

STEM lab CEO Arleeta Bazil says exposing the students to STEM teaches them how to succeed in school and in life. 

"It's very critical because you can't become what you don't see," Bazil said. "This is how they learn. They are not the textbook, they're really into this, they're really into the coding, the interactive."

Robots are a fan favorite for the students. 

The kids are teaching the adults a thing or two about robots controlled by iPads.

"Our third graders, we gave them our dash bots and they were running them and we were still trying to figure out how to turn the things on," Bazil said. 

"With those opportunities, our kids can do some amazing things, which is evident. And they have to have those opportunities," Dr. Anthony Edison with District 143-5 said. "It's about leveling the playing field, giving Black and brown kids the opportunity to compete, to have the focus to compete."

The students are also becoming trainers for fellow students. 

The district says finding STEM teachers is still a challenge.

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