Dinosaurs, Fossils and Lungs – Oh My! Intriguing Workshops to be Offered at STEM Festival

Dinosaurs, Fossils and Lungs

Dinosaurs is just one of the many interactive workshops available at the upcoming Mineral County STEM Festival being held April 2, from noon until 4 p.m. at Potomac State College of WVU, in Keyser, W.Va. Ryan and Emma Hughes stand beside a Tyrannosaurus Rex footprint that was part of the “Introduction to Dinosaurs” presentation at the 2015 Mineral County STEM Festival. The artifact is part of the personal dinosaur collection owned by PSC Chemistry Professor Henry Falkowski, Ph.D., and his wife, Terri, an adjunct instructor for the College.

The fourth annual Mineral County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Festival, which is being held on the campus of Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University on Saturday, April 2, from noon until 4 p.m., continues to add an interesting variety of workshops that’s sure to intrigue the interest of children and their parents.

This free event is open to students, K-12, their families and to members of the community. More of the many workshops being presented by PSC employees include: Dinosaurs, Healthy Lungs and Simulated Smoker Lungs, Straightedge and Compass-Practical Geometry Concepts, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Design, Pi Skyline, and Fossils: How Do We Know Anything?

PSC Chemistry Professor Henry Falkowski, Ph.D., and Terry Falkowski, adjunct chemistry professor at the College, will present Dinosaurs a practical activity that will enable participants to not only view dinosaur fossils including skulls, bones and footprints, but also will allow them to handle many of the models from different periods.

Healthy Lungs and Simulated Smoker Lungs will be presented by PSC Biology Professor Gerald Wilcox, Ph.D., who also serves as the chair of the STEM Division at the College. This hands-on activity will demonstrate the healthy lungs of a pig and the lungs of a simulated smoker, representing the lungs of a person who smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 20 years, thereby, detailing the damage that smoking can do to an individual’s lungs.

PSC Associate Math Professor Richard Petersen, Ph.D., will present Pi Skyline where participants will use the many digits of pi, graph paper and markers to create a pi skyline in this mathematical art project.

Yelena Meadows, Ph.D., who serves as a visiting mathematics instructor, will present Straightedge and Compass-Practical Geometry Concepts. In this workshop, participants will take a brief journey into the history of geometry which will be accompanied by hands-on constructions using a straight edge and compass. Participants will also experience the aesthetic and accuracy of early geometry that inspired many artists, architects and mathematicians.

Mohammed Saifi, a computer science and engineering professor, will offer Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Design, an interactive workshop demonstrating drones that have been designed and built by PSC students.

Nicholas Gardner, who serves as a library technical assistant at the Mary F. Shipper Library, will present Fossils – How Do We Know Anything? Participants will be able to compare living and fossil animals to understand behavior in the fossil record. Bones, casts and models will indicate how bones, cartilage and muscle come together.

The purpose of the Mineral County STEM Network is to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics awareness among the children and youth of Mineral County, W.Va., and the surrounding region by offering stimulating presentations in which they can participate.

For more information on the Mineral County STEM Network visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MineralCountySTEM