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Science Week programs aim to get more students involved with STEM fields

For those who don’t think science is cool, consider this: Nearly 400 Buffalo middle school students are scheduled to travel to First Niagara Center next week to learn about hockey. The science of hockey, that is.

The lesson, sponsored the Sabres and EverFi, an educational technology company, is part of the second annual Science Week program aimed at encouraging more students to get involved in the fields known as STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

The weeklong event kicks off Saturday with a Science Summit at the Buffalo Museum of Science as well as a program known as “Tech Savvy for Girls” on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

Events will be held all next week, in city school classrooms as well as outside venues.

The program is for Buffalo public and charter school students in grades kindergarten through 12.

Highlights, in addition to the hockey lesson, include:

• Genome Day: Four hundred seventh- and eighth-graders will travel to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, then UB to learn how to extract DNA and learn how different genetic makeup can guide health choices.

• Curious George Day: Three hundred kindergarteners, first- and second-graders will travel to the Science Museum for a health lesson with Curious George.

• Science Exploration Day: Three hundred Buffalo sophomores and juniors will join hundreds of other area students in a series of workshops at demonstrations at the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst.

Science Week is spearheaded by the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Public Schools, the University at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo State and Erie Community College.

“By increasing STEM education in the Buffalo schools, we are providing our youth with the knowledge and resources necessary to succeed,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said Thursday, when announcing this year’s program. “STEM jobs are our city’s future,” the mayor said. “It’s our shared responsibility to make sure Buffalo students are ready to fill them.”

Brown said this year’s event was announced at Waterfront School because of the improvements the school has made in recent years. Student daily attendance is now 93 percent compared with 88 percent four years ago, and suspensions dropped from 738 in 2010-11 to 397 in 2012-2013 and to 248 in 2013-14, the mayor said.