STEM Fesitval inspires kids
Wed, 05/03/2017 - 10:59am admin
Kim Soukup TPD Staff
Decorah - The Northeast Iowa Family STEM Festival was held April 13, at the Center for the Arts, Luther College, Decorah. The festival, free and open to the public, was attended by hundreds of adults and children.
The festival’s goals are to promote, inspire and engage youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities. The activities are aimed to introduce children and parents to STEM careers in their local communities.
The target audience for the STEM Festival is children in third–eighth grades and their families. But the festival does not discriminate and included toddlers, college students, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends joining together for an evening of awesome adventures and excellent experiences.
There were over 25 exhibits, featuring hands-on interactive STEM activities. Attendees traveled in a solar system in the digital planetarium, drove a robot, flew a plane, conducted super science experiments and explored the nursing field.
The United States, once a leader in science, technology, engineering and math, has fallen far from its place as a global leader.
U.S. News reports, “In order for the U.S. to compete in a global market, we need to do a better job of inspiring children to develop that desire for discovery and encourage minorities and girls especially to get involved in STEM.”
And the children did just that, some repeat visitors from as far away as Charles City and Independence.
Children created atoms with gummy candies and toothpicks, piloted a plane, drove a vehicle, created animal footprints and learned about solar and wind energy. And if they were interested in animal science and conservation, there was a live turtle, mice and a gorgeous snake on hand. Children had an opportunity to learn about electricity, robotics, magnetism and printing as well.
For one Cresco family, this was a first-time experience.
“We were planning on going last year when it was held at NICC but then were unable to go, so this is our first-time at a STEM event,” said the mother. “The kids are having a great time and we are having a hard time keeping up with them. There’s so much for them to see and experience. It’s been just great. Looking forward to next year.”
The Winneshiek County Sheriff’s K9 officer was on hand to meet and greet everyone as they came in. Occasionally he was available for photo ops as well.
Exhibitors included Northeast Iowa Community College, Rockwell Collins, ISU Extension & Outreach 4-H, ArtHaus, Northeast Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Wartburg College NSTA, Postville Jr. High Science, Luther College Visual & Performing Arts Department, Keystone Area Education Agency, National Driving Simulator, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, Winneshiek County Conservation, Green Iowa Americorps, Luther College, Luther College Campus Chapter of the National Science Teachers Association, Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office, Toy Jungle at Donlon Pharmacy, Iowa Public Television, University of Northern Iowa STEM and Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Co.
The Northeast Iowa STEM Festival is a community-wide partnership led by Northeast Iowa Region Governor's STEM Advisory Council at University of Northern Iowa, Northeast Iowa Business Network (in part, by the Iowa Economic Development Authority), NICC, Keystone Area Education Agency, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, IowaWORKS and Upper Exploreland Regional Planning Commission.
Missed the STEM festival this year? Get ready for April 2018, for it’s sure to make a visit to Northeast Iowa again.