From hovercrafts to hedgehogs, kids at the Bettendorf Middle School science expo Saturday were learning STEM subjects can be fun.
"It does make you more interested," explained 13-year-old Andrew Ball.
He said he enjoys getting the hands on experience:
"Not just me, but a lot of kids, because a lot of kids don't think math and science are very fun," he said.
Ball said he hopes events like this will change their mind:
"I am hoping this will rejuvenate education, and kids will go forth with dreams and new dreams because I am sure a lot of kids today - they found out what they want to do in the field of science and math."
Experts say that's the idea.
"The next generation of contributors to our way of life, our economy, they need to be well prepared," Jeff Hanley, guest speaker at the science expo, said.
The director of Human Exploration and Development at the Johnson Space Center, and a Bettendorf Alum, Hanley said, as a kid he watched as astronauts orbited the moon for the first time - and he was hooked.
He said he hopes program like this will give kids that same inspiration he once had to pursue careers in science and math.
Getting kids interested is more important than ever, he said.
"Because the demographics of this generation are that there are other countries in the world that are economic competitors that have more honor students than we have students-- they need to be well prepared to still continue to be the innovators--the best of the best of innovators in the world," Hanley explained.
Nearly 100 kids took part in Saturday's expo.
This is the 8th year for the event, and organizers say it is continually growing.
They say its just one of many ways the school is trying to initiate the STEM program.