Want to Interest More Kids in Science? Bring Science Down to Earth

It may have seemed like just another day for NASA. But when I heard that rapper of the Black Eyed Peas debuted his new song, "Reach for the Stars," from Mars, I grabbed my iPad to learn more. Here was a Grammy-winning artist promoting science education, and more specifically STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). His teenage fans could relate to something as unreachable as space exploration by connecting it to something they do every day -- listen to music.

As the Executive Director of REAL School Gardens, an organization that creates learning gardens that increase academic achievement, I applaud's efforts. I hope he's turned the heads of teens who might otherwise scoff at science. is right: we need to make STEM more appealing for young people, especially if we want to grow the pool of talent for scientific and technological innovation.

Without a solid foundation in science, students will find it difficult to integrate it with math, engineering, and technology. According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than 60 percent of U.S. fourth graders aren't proficient in science. And even though our eight grade scores are on the rise, 65 percent of students weren't proficient in 2011. Our students are capable of so much more.

Science doesn't have to be as cool as sending a song to Mars to engage students. If we bring science down to Earth, we can use the simplest of resources to make it relevant:…
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