In November, we participated in the Arizona STEM Adventure, which was planned by many local organizations. These groups included: SARSEF, Northwest Pima Community College, The STEMAZing Project, Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, the University of Arizona Office of Societal Impacts, Raytheon, IBM, and Thomas R. Brown Foundations.
We were able to pick up supplies to complete activities each day along with videos that were posted online. There were 1,633 students who picked up supplies to participate and even more may have participated with their own supplies! There were 32 volunteers who worked for over 200 hours to put together the kits!
Some of the things we created included: elephant toothpaste, silly putty, screaming balloons, building your own aquifer and straw oboes. We watched videos of people showing us how to use our supplies to create the projects. For example, to create silly putty, we used a diluted glue sample, a bag with borax, a small container of water, a measuring spoon, a support cup and a plate. We had most of the supplies provided and were able to use a few others from home. Our two favorite activities were making silly putty and elephant toothpaste because they were so much fun.
SARSEF Volunteer and Events Manager Danniey Wrights says, “Because AZ STEM Adventure has always been about interaction and hands-on activities, the greatest challenge was re-envisioning the event to keep those important aspects while students and teachers participate remotely. We also knew we had to keep in mind that some students will be inside a classroom, while some students will be at home. We worked hard to figure out what could work for everyone with so much changing every day!”
Wrights said that her favorite part of the event this year was preparing for the live broadcast. “We have live tours prepared, scientists to interview, as well as engaging activities! Students are encouraged to ask questions and comment in the chat in real time,” says Wrights. “We have been practicing and working out the logistics, and I’m just so excited to end the week with such a cool event!”
Wrights says that over 1,600 people signed up through their teacher’s and got kits.
We attended the four hour YouTube live broadcast hosted by Emily Halvorson-Otts, Dean of Science at Pima Community College NW, to conclude our week of learning.
We were able to see many speakers as well as tours. Our favorite speakers were Calline Sanchez, Vice President of IBM, and Yvonne Mayfield, a NASA Ambassador. We loved the tours of Pima Community College technology building and Biosphere 2.
If you missed the activities, you can still find information online at: azstemadventure.org.