STEM Night 2014

Our school system sponsored a ‘Family STEM Night’.  Being nerds, of course we went.  Two hours of playing with stuff!

20140501 owl pellet

Dissecting an owl pellet

The coolest table was all about dissecting owl pellets.  I helped Beta uncover a vole (we think it was a vole – it could have been a small rat, the jaws are pretty similar).

There were also tables with:

  • magnets and electricity, with little motors and big batteries you could play with
  • growing plants (with a seed and a cup of dirt)
  • making goo (not sure about the science aspect, and it was sponsored by Pfizer so it’s even more dubious, but it was fun)
  • making a levitating “train” with magnets and a fixed track
  • making structures using toothpicks and marshmallows
  • blowing up peeps and boiling cold water with a vacuum and a bell jar (my second favorite, I should have taken a pic)
  • robots, with a large mobile robot, a roomba, and a small r/c vehicle for the kids to try (with a video feed in the controller, woo!)
  • using strobe lights, with a stream of green-colored water dripping in time with the strobe (so the drips appeared to be stationary)
Strobe light on continuous liquid drips

Thanks to the strobe light, the picture documents what we saw – stationary drops of water

One dark spot: a table that was supposed to be about archaeology but it was muddled, including this dubious definition:

Archeological Dig

Next Generation Science Standard:

3-LS4-1. Use fossils to describe types of organisms and their environments that existed long ago and compare those to living organisms and their environments.  Recognize that most kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere.

Archeological Dig Next Generation Science Standard: 3-LS4-1. Use fossils to describe types of organisms and their environments that existed long ago and compare those to living organisms and their environments.  Recognize that most kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere.

Bad science at the STEM Fair. Can you see what’s wrong with this definition?

Well, the kids had fun and didn’t notice the mistakes.  Alpha and Beta both left talking about going into biology – which makes me happy.  And I guess the fair achieved it’s aims.

Oh, and there was a hovercraft.  It was not full of eels.

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