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Grow in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (GEMS)

Growth in Engineering, Mathematics, & Science (GEMS) Logo


This one-day workshop provides an opportunity for eighth-grade students to explore interests in engineering, science, and technology. Scheduled every spring, the workshop lets students interact with professional women from industry, as well as with professors and students from SDSU. The goals of this workshop include introducing eighth-grade students to engineering, math, and science; increasing student and parent knowledge in these areas; providing an environment that facilitates learning and excitement; and inspiring eighth-grade students to continue to pursue the courses of study introduced during the workshop.

Event Details

Date and Time: March 21, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: SDSU Crothers Engineering Hall, Brookings, SD

Student Agenda for the day:

9:00-9:30      Registration and Refreshments, Crothers Hall 204

9:30-10:00    Welcome & opening session

10:00 - 10:15  Ice Breaker

10:15-11:55   Session One

11:55- 12:55  Lunch with speaker

12:55-2:35     Session Two

2:35-3:05       Ice Cream Break

3:05-4:45       Session Three

4:45-5:00       Closing Ceremony


The online application form is available here. Camp fee is $25 per student if registered by Friday, March 15. Late camp fee is $35. 

Teachers and guardians are free; please list ALL parents/guardians/teachers attending the workshop on the application form.

Planned Session Activities

Forensics-Who Dunnit?

Solve a crime using forensic science!

In this hands-on project, GEMS participants will use science and reasoning to learn how to collect and classify fingerprints, how to analyze mystery powders, how to use biological markers like foot length to estimate height, and how hair samples are analyzed. With help from South Dakota Forensic Lab, participants will see the science and the tools that are used in practice. Finally, the participants will be able to put their new found skills to the test and solve a crime by using deductive reasoning. A great interactive project with a large dose of science, math, analysis, and fun!

Bio Engineering



Moving from a science fiction novel to our workplace, robots are making a mark in history.  Who will design and program the robots of the future, and what will they do for us?   In this hands-on project, participants will build a LEGO-Mindstorm robot car from Lego parts, program the car to navigate a "treacherous" maze and then program them to dance.  This interactive project provides the great lesson of "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again".

Teacher/Guardian Sessions

STEM Student and Professional Panel

This panel, comprised of SDSU students and industry professionals, will explore opportunities, expectations, rewards, and skills associated with a STEMs education and career. Panel members will discuss their academic and professional experiences in pursuing and managing a STEMs career as well as how to make the most of the college experience. A large part of the panel will be dedicated to interactive discussion with the audience to explore some of the common questions that students ask:  topics such as choosing the best school, making the transition to college and a career.

Preparing Your Student for College and STEM Career Opportunities

Dr. Bruce Berdanier,  Dean of Engineering, will present information to the parents and teachers on how students entering high school can better prepare themselves to compete for scholarships and demanding academic majors.  Followed by Leah Brink, Human Resources Director at Daktronics, Inc., who will discuss STEM career opportunities.

Engineering Activity & Student Session Tour

Test your engineering skills and creativity in designing and building the Rube Goldberg Light Activation Machine. Then take a walking tour to the student sessions.


Sponsor logos: Banner engineering a better community, HRGreen, East River Electric, Daktronics, DGR Engineering, Sencore, Dulas Excavating Inc., 3M, and IBM