The popular STEM Saturday that draws dozens of children to Palm Beach State College each month is going big with STEAM Fest 2018, a new initiative slated for Sept. 22 at the Lake Worth campus.
The inaugural STEAM Fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Natural Science building. The exhibition of science, technology, engineering, art and math will include indoor and outdoor science demonstrations, contests, crafts and more. It is free and open to children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and their families.
STEAM Fest is a spinoff of STEM Saturday, which began in February 2017 to introduce children to biology, anatomy, chemistry and physics. Dr. Sankaranarayana Chandramohan, a PBSC professor of anatomy and physiology and microbiology, launched STEM Saturday after the response he and his students received at activity tables they hosted at the “Our Body: The Universe Within” exhibit at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. It is held on the fourth Saturday of each month during the fall and spring terms and draws between 60 to 100 people.
However, the Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education at Palm Beach State approached Chandramohan, who is known as Dr. Chandra, and his team about collaborating on a bigger event. As one of the partners of a PNC Grow up Great grant, supported by the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, the Institute already holds STEAM Fairs at local public and private schools. At the STEAM Fairs, children explore contraptions, large-scale interactive exhibits that help them learn about science, technology engineering, art and math.
“We partnered with them thinking we could expand those offerings to be a larger event for the community and to have more of a focus on the early childhood age,” said Kat Lai, an instructional designer for the Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education and a member of the planning committee. “We strongly believe that the younger that we can get children to be excited about and interested in STEAM, the more likely they are to be strong thinkers throughout their lives.”
Chandramohan said he is hoping to attract at least 300 people. Other presenters include the PBSC Science Club and professors, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, Loggerhead Marinelife Center and other community agencies.
For more information and to RSVP for STEAM Fest, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/events/steam-fest.