Nanotechnology. Drones. Cybersecurity.
The Mohawk Valley is slowly becoming an epicenter for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics...also known as STEM. But to make sure we continue on this path, we have to start from the bottom up. And that means getting future generations on board.
They came ready for war. A virtual war.
Today students from Staley Upper Elementary School competed against teams around the country representing the Air Force Research Laboratory. The competition had different types of math problems associated with a video game-like program. Teachers say this different way of learning has students focused.
"Most kids like video games and we happened to wrap math up into it so they get to practice their math skills and have some fun at the same time," says Courtney Hug, teacher.
But some say the competition is accomplishing something much bigger in stem education and careers.
"Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth...those four years are really important to get the kids hooked on math. If you get past eighth i think the probability of getting them is much less. If you can get them hooked on math in that four year time span you're really going to have a much higher probability of having them stick with math and science and get a degree," says Jeff DeMatteis, Air Force Research Laboratory.
And some students seem to be hooked already and thinking about how it'll benefit their future careers
"It's very good to get a job because if you want to be an engineer it's very good to have a degree in math," says Kelsey Rabe, student.
But for some students, they're just going to use math to supplement their future career, even if that career is an NFL player.
"So I can add up all the total yards," says Isaha Garner, student.
The sixth grade team ended up taking the top spot in the national math competition. They will all receive certificates for their hard work.