How do you get your kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)?
The University of Waterloo is hoping to spark the imagination of some future scientists by hosting an open house Saturday with fun hands-on experiments.
“It’s about kids coming to campus and interacting with all kinds of science,” said Heather Neufeld, director of science outreach at the University of Wisconsin. “There are activities that engage kids in every discipline.”
This includes chemistry, biology, physics, and more.
The event is a fully interactive experience with experiments and exhibits for all ages and interests – from tech geeks to animal lovers to future doctors.
“I love science,” said 9-year-old participant Zahra Ainla.
“I was really excited to see all the different things we could build and do,” added Krina Kang, also 9 years old.
The chemistry magic show was one of the most popular attractions. Kids can create cool colors, light a fire, and watch the pumpkins explode.
“I think it’s important to provide these opportunities and these activities for kids to come and participate in [and] “Test things,” explained Allison Niblett, a mathematical physicist at the University of Wisconsin.
She is one of 300 students who volunteer at the open house.
Neblett said she didn’t do events like this when she was younger, and that having a full hands-on experience is crucial to getting kids interested in science.
“Learning something in a textbook, in a classroom, is great,” Niblett explained. “Being able to connect it to the real world and actually do it yourself, I think that’s really important.”
“This may be their first interaction with [science]“Well, that’s physics, not what I thought it was,” Neufeld said. “Almost everyone they come into contact with is a student who is here, so they will see people who look like them studying science and that is the special part.”
This year’s events returned after a four-year hiatus.
Organizers hope to reopen as an annual event, with plans already in motion next October.