Each year, IHADLA partners with a community or private organization to host our Dreamer Scholars to a “Dream Big” STEAM-focused event. The event includes interactive workshops in technology, engineering, science, math, and the arts, to expose our students and ignite their enthusiasm for STEAM programs and careers. This year’s IHADLA Dream Big STEAM event was virtual and took place over two Saturdays this spring.
Day 1: Space Exploration
The event focused on Space Exploration with age-appropriate virtual workshops led by Holly, a representative of the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.
Our 11th-grade and college students attended the “Virtual Planetarium: Planetary Geology” session to explore the unique landscapes in the planets and moons that make up Earth’s neighborhood, the solar system.
Our 8th-grade students attended the “Virtual Planetarium: Night Sky Tonight” to learn how to be backyard astronomers, including finding constellations and even how one can use the sky to find directions.
Our 3rd & 4th-grade students attended “Robots on Mars!” to explore how un-crewed missions help scientists prepare for human exploration in space. First, they learned the steps that planetary scientists take to design robots and make hypotheses from physical properties. They also discussed the challenges of sending people into space, such as asteroids, the type of air humans need to breathe, and the expensive equipment required. Then, as a group, participants collected data to solve for a mysterious object inside a brown paper bag. Dreamer Scholars successfully used the scientific method to find that the hidden thing was a pad of sticky notes! Lastly, Holly answered questions from our curious Dreamer Scholars, such as “what happened to Pluto?” and encouraged attendees to listen to the news about the adventures of the latest Mars rover, Perseverance.
Our students were provided these programs by the Pacific Science Center at no cost, thanks to generous grant support from the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pathway (NESSP), funded by NASA under award No. NNX16AB86A.
Day 2: “Science Bob”
Our Dreamer Scholars attended sessions for their respective age group to virtually meet Bob “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, “a science communicator, teacher, maker, author, and presenter that knows how to make the world of science come alive in a big way.” Science Bob enthusiastically shared his background and notable televised appearances. Interwoven in his stories were “Random Acts of Science”, where he conducted live demonstrations and explained the mechanisms behind them. Our students enjoyed watching Science Bob seemingly shrink a balloon, make water disappear, and create the snow-like substance originally used in movies. When excited attendees asked what happens if two powders are mixed, Bob encouraged them to try it with the kits our program coordinators delivered to them the days before this event. Science Bob inspired students by noting that finding people to support such curiosities and dreams advances science and engineering!