CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Math science and fun, three words that usually don't associate. But for 4 years Chattanooga State and Tennessee American water have been defying the odds, for a better future.

Fourth and Fifth graders from nearly two dozen schools put the books down today to learn outside the box. Hands on for the 4th annual Science and Math Olympiad.

Chattanooga State Professor David Stanislawski said, "The kids here are our future, we're looking 10, 15 years down the road for these students."

In a society that demands the very latest science and math, Stanislawski says getting kids involved this early is a must.

"Kids get turned onto or off of science early on, probably in elementary school," said Stanislawski. "And if they get turned off of it, they probably won't go back to it at higher grades."

Kim Dalton of Tennessee American Water has seen this event grow from 300 to 600 in just four years.

She says it's the hands on activities that make two subjects that have a rather dull reputation, seem fun.

"A lot of kids nowadays love hands on, and that's what we're doing with them. They're so excited," said Dalton.

Dalton also says she's seen first hand at Tennessee American water the importance of science in relation to drinking water for the future. And who knows, one of these kids could be responsible for that.

For example someone like Soddy Daisy fourth grader Taylor Lawrence, she knows how important an early start is.

"Right now you could know how to do it, other than when you're older you have to go back and correct yourself," said Lawrence.

Future chemist? Future biologist? Who knows, the possibilities are endless. Either way it's events like this that make a brighter future.