Science To Come To Life At Downtown Festival - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Science To Come To Life At Downtown Festival

January 8th, 2019 SanTan Sun News
Science To Come To Life At Downtown Festival
Family Fun

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Children, teens and adults can touch and explore interactive exhibits at the family-friendly Chandler Science Spectacular next month downtown.

The annual event is free and will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 9 near the Chandler Community Center, along East Commonwealth Avenue and Arizona Place.

Anyone can check out scientific discoveries engineered in the community as the city aims to show families how science is important in everyday life.

The city event marks Chandler’s participation in the Arizona SciTech Festival, which celebrates science, technology engineering and math (STEM) – or STEAM when arts is included – every year in February and March around the state.

More than 1,000 expos, workshops, talks, exhibitions and tours are held in neighborhoods in Arizona to educate and excite people of all ages on how STEM will drive the state for the next 100 years.

The Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University spearhead the festival. More than 800 organizations in academia, arts, civic, community, industry and K-12 grades produce it.

Northrop Grumman and Intel are sponsors and plan to set up interactive displays. In previous years, Northrop Grumman has launched rockets at the festival. Waymo has brought a self-driving vehicle as well as pictures for children to color. Intel has set up booths with kits that light up computers and illustrate the “basics of computer science,” according to city spokeswoman Stephanie Romero.

The festival will have “all these really neat activities that explain science, things that you can touch and feel and jump on,” Romero said.

Area K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities also plan to participate in the event. In past years, they have brought beakers with chemicals, a wind tunnel and bees, along with an organic bee repellant.

Nearly 80 companies, including PayPal, will be participating in the event this year, said Odette Moore, city economic development research assistant.

“Every booth is interactive so that people can engage so it seems to go well,” Moore said. “Science really is the future. You never know. There could be a future programmer, a future scientist. We want them to start a love for it early on in life.”

The library, fire department, police forensics team, Environmental Education Center and wastewater treatment department will also set up displays – including fire trucks and a mock crime scene.

The library staffers will discuss various resources, such as their 3-D printer. The Environmental Education Center offers an activity on how to identify mammals, birds and reptiles.

Besides engaging in the displays, children and teens can also take part in friendly competition at the festival.

All K-12 schools and organizations within Chandler’s boundaries can participate in the second annual Chandler Science Spectacular Competition. Judges will pick six winning teams, each getting a $500 prize for the most creative, educational and passionate projects.

Two winners from categories for nonprofits, K-8 and 9-12 grades will be picked. The winners will be announced and recognized at the City Council meeting after the festival. Young people can create any type of STEM project they like. The judges include employees from the city, Northrop Grumman and Intel.

“We have always built a brand of Chandler as the innovation and technology hub of the Southwest,” Romero said. “We’re the home of Intel, our largest employer, Waymo. Science is really ingrained into our community and so we really want to provide a way for kids to continue on this path of STEM and science. We love to provide these educational opportunities for our Chandler families.”