The Des Moines school district and the Great Ape Trust of Iowa announced a plan this week that will partner researchers at the trust with middle schools to try and get kids more interest in science. Mark Schnurstein, helps prepare students for advanced science classes and looks forward to the "Great Ape Academy." It’s hoped that the program can eventually expand statewide, and Schnurstein says it has the right appeal.
He says it’s something different that the students will know they’ll never have the opportunity to do again. Schnurstein says the fact that the students can see bonobos and orangutans is what will hook the kids. Schnurstein says programs that give kids a hands-on experience really work well with this age group.
"I did a program with the zoo in the same case, where we started out with a small group of kids getting involved in some of the things the zoo was doing," Schnurstein says. He says the enthusiasm for the program grew as the kids got involved, and more and more students wanted to do it. This program is designed to teach what Schnurstein calls "real life skills."
He says one of the things he wants to see is "Do we give them (kids) the skills they need to be successful in life?" Schnurstein says this program can show kids how to use their math and reading skills and why they need them. Students from 13 Des Moines middle schools will take part in the program.