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Montana State University program helps high school students chart a path to careers in science

June 21, 2010View for printing

Groups of students gathered in the sunshine outside of Montana State University's Roberts Hall recently, investigating objects labeled only with pieces of blue tape. The objects were rocks, and the high school students were on a quest to identify them as igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.

MSU earth sciences professor Mark Skidmore asked the students about one of the rocks. "Does it feel coarse? Remember, how it looks is different from how it feels."

The students puzzled over the rocks, investigating the color, grain size, hardness and weight of each one to identify them.

As they correctly identified the rocks, some smiled, gave their teammates kudos or simply moved on to the next one.

"It's pretty fun," said Keshia Birdhat, one of the students participating in the investigation.

MAP is part of the American Indian Research Opportunities program and has been bringing Native American and minority students to the MSU campus for more than 25 years.

Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

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