The 10th Annual Mineral County STEM Festival will be held at West Virginia University Potomac State College on Saturday, March 25, from noon to 4 p.m. This exciting event is free and open to the public.
Learners of all ages will enjoy the engaging and fun hands-on activities at this year’s interactive STEM Festival while touching and inspecting real dinosaur fossils, making jewelry, constructing a mobius strip, and much more.
The festival provides area youth with insights into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) which focuses on critical thinking and innovation. STEM careers are one of the fastest growing career paths in the country.
Paleo-palooza allows participants to visit a natural history exhibit and touch real fossils and bones. Presenter Nicholas Gardner (WVU PSC Library Director), along with experts from local colleges and the National Park Service, will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information about careers in paleontology.
Gardner is also presenting Unbe-LEAF-able Art: Learn to Paint with Natural Pigments. During this activity, visitors explore the world of natural pigments by painting with crushed leaves. This educational art experience allows individuals to take home their own unique chlorophyll masterpiece. This is a joint activity sponsored by the WVU PSC Library and Keyser-Mineral County Public Library.
Festival attendees will have the opportunity to create jewelry using ASCII code with WVU PSC Professor Mary Moore (Department of Computer Information Systems). Visitors make their own jewelry using beads to spell out letters using ASCII characters. Beads of various colors represent 1's and 0's. Visitors will learn about the ASCII alphabet used by computer systems while creating a fun craft.
In addition to learning about electricity, visitors can explore electronics, engineering science projects, and mechanical science projects from WVU PSC Professor Mohammad Saifi (Department of Engineering).
Dr. Richard Petersen (WVU PSC Math Professor) will show visitors how to construct a Möbius strip, also known as a Möbius band, or Möbius loop, by attaching the ends of a strip of paper together. But don’t be fooled, it’s not as simplistic as it sounds.
Children are always excited to watch Eugene the Mechanical Cow eat bucket after bucket of feed and turn it into energy so he can grow big and strong. During this interactive presentation by David Miller (WVU PSC Program Coordinator of the SAGE Innovation Lab), visitors learn how food and products come from our farms and forests.
While visiting the anatomy and physiology labs, participants will learn about the various organ systems and their health-related issues while interacting with dissected and preserved specimens and models. The hands-on anatomy lab is presented by Dr. Sheri Chisholm (WVU PSC Biology Associate Professor).
WVU PSC Mathematics Instructor Sandra Mitchell will demonstrate the design and manufacturing of a small part using a 3D printer. Mitchell has created many parts including a card launcher with a microprocessor, an infrared sensor, and a servo motor.
The Mineral County STEM Festival has something for everyone at this family-friendly event and is sure to excite and ignite both young and more mature minds and imaginations!