By Isabella Cortes, STEM Read Intern
NIU Convocation Center, DeKalb, Illinois
Every year thousands of learners from across Illinois gather for STEMfest 2018. This annual event is put on by NIU STEAM and its programs STEM Outreach, STEM Read, and STEAMing It Up Professional Development.
STEMfest features hundreds of STEAM activities for kids of all ages. This year STEMfest hosted its first Mini Maker Faire, weather balloon launch, and low-sensory hour. Many different groups and organizations were present, such as, NIU Robotics, Argonne National Lab, and WTTW Kids! From haunted physics to extracting DNA from fruit there was something for everyone at STEMfest 2018.
This year, STEM Read brought three authors to the event: Gillian King-Cargile, author of the Stuffed Bunny Science Adventureseries; Ruth Spiro, author of Made by Maxine and the Baby Loves… series; and Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall and Surface Tension. Ruth kicked the day off with a talk on tinkering for toddlers, while Mike’s afternoon talk explored themes like persistence and bike safety. Both authors signed books and talked with young science-enthusiasts after their presentations.
We, of course, couldn’t be present without bringing our favorite books for the day! STEM Read hosted a reading to rover corner for kids to take a break from the business of the day and recharge. Popular picks were The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, and Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. Kids also could draw at our coloring station! We brought fun coloring sheets from The Toy and the Twister and Made by Maxine.
STEM Read Recommends at Least an Hour A Day of Reading to Rover For Maximum Tail Wagging
As a new intern and first-timer to STEMfest, I was blown away by the amount of talent in the room! I love books, and I love what we do at STEM Read. I will never get tired of exploring the science behind the fiction. STEMfest provided an opportunity for science-loving readers to witness science in action. It was happening all around us! It was awesome to see so many other organizations and groups that are as passionate about STEAM as we are. Even more exciting, was watching the different kids and parents mirror our enthusiasm.
If you missed STEMfest 2018, keep a look out for our 2019 date. This is not an event you want to miss.