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Dahlgren, VA - KING GEORGE, Va. - A local student explores the fact that all living organisms have DNA by extracting it from strawberries. He was among 14 students (and 12 parents) from Potomac Elementary School, King George Elementary School, and home schools participating in a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) sponsored science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event at the Dahlgren Heritage Museum, May 12. NSWCDD biomedical engineer Chelsey Lawson and Nathan Sullins, a high school junior STEM champion, mentored the second to sixth grade students who learned that strawberries have eight genome copies in every cell, making it easier to see the mass when it's extracted using dish detergent and isopropyl alcohol. "We take a fun twist on math by learning about statistics using starbursts," said Jon Dachos, HSI Surface Combat System Lead and STEM mentor who coordinated the event. "The students categorized and graphed the contents of their candy samples and we discussed other ways that statistics are useful. Finally, the students practiced principles of physics and civil engineering by building the tallest tower they could out of dry spaghetti and mini marshmallows. In order to engage students in different STEM careers, a poster is displayed that shows potential career paths based on their STEM interests."


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