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michael kors wallets A student in elementary school that can see relationships between math and other subjects has a better chance of success later on. Students learned engineering and had more than a little fun at the MathMovesU event. (Contributed photo/Raytheon) -- The 100 elementary school students gathered at University ofAlabama Huntsville this week spent a morning learning about math, science andthe detailed process engineers go through while managing a project. That's probably not what the students would tell you,however. They would say they spent a fun morning making different types ofparachutes and then putting them to the test to see how they performed. Thefact they were learning in the process is just part of the plan. Raytheon, along with UAH, sponsored the eventTuesday as part of STEM - science, technology, engineering and math -education efforts. Volunteers from the company and university assisted fifthgraders from J.E. Williams, Mill Creek and Legacy elementary schools as they walkedthrough engineering projects culminating with the design, construction andlaunch of the mini-parachutes. Ellen Thompson, UAH's Science Specialists for the AlabamaMath, Science and Technology Initiative, said the day was all about learningthat math, science and engineering can be fun. "We want kids to understand they have to be well-rounded,"she said. "Alabama needs kids to train in math and science but not everyone isgoing to be an engineer. What they learn here is the process can also beapplied to other subjects." That process includes the steps that are used inmultiple engineering disciplines. In this case, the students worked in teams togo through the process that includes brainstorming, developing, building andprototype and testing, to build the parachutes. Brenda Terry, Director of the Alabama Mathematics, Science,and Technology Education Coalition, said the event is designed to reachstudents at a critical age. "A student in elementary school that can see relationshipsbetween math and other subjects has a better chance of success later on," Terrysaid. "It also teaches them teamwork that's essential later on." For Raytheon volunteer Daphne Osby, who works as a graphicartist, the day was about more than just numbers. "My passion is working with kids and helping show them thatmath and science is fun. Kids still have the imagination factor and they arealways thinking of new ways to do things. That's what makes this sointeresting," she said. Kevin Byrnes, Raytheon's Huntsville site executive, spent alot of his time at the MathMovesU event working with the students. He'spassionate about MathMovesU, the company's signature STEM education program thatoffers an array of STEM education programs. Byrnes smiled when he talked about every student raisingtheir hand when asked a question. That type of response is what the programwants to inspire and is the reason Raytheon is involved in the project. "Raytheon is an innovation company," he said. "As aninnovation company, we need engineers who are passionate about technology. Andwhere else but in Huntsville could you find such a perfect place for this? It'sa natural fit for us to spend our time and talent to promote STEM education."