BC-IL--Exchange-Science Boost,1st Ld-Writethru/510
EXCHANGE: Illinois children get a summer science boost
SAMANTHA MOORE, The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald.
LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. (AP) — As 9-year-old Owen Moore pedaled on the stationary bike, he hoped to convert his kinetic energy into electricity.
Corresponding lights measured the amount of energy Moore and other children exerted while pedaling at the "Hands-on Science Extravaganza." The bike generator exhibit was one of many that children could play with and learn from.
"I hope they gain a curiosity of how things work so that they appreciate what they learn in school," said Kelly Sindelar, a mother of three.
The hands-on museum was brought to Chesak Elementary School by the Huntley Area Public Library. Twelve exhibits focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Some topics addressed during the STEAM Museum included robotics, friction and 3-D printing.
"They'll take it right from summer into the classroom," Jessica Mina said about her children.
Put on by Mobile Ed Productions, a traveling educational assembly company serving about 35 states, the museum offered attendees an opportunity to learn in a kid-friendly manner. Information was structured toward kindergartners through sixth-graders, but guests of all ages were welcome.
In addition to children and their families, also in attendance was NAO, a $10,000 humanoid robot capable of moving and introducing himself. NAO captivated the attention of children and parents alike and has served as an asset to the STEAM Museum for three of its four years of existence.
"I think STEAM is great because it's more than just science - it's science made practical and relevant to today's world," said Ryan Thompson, vice president of Mobile Ed Productions.
Of the seven sessions offered, Debbie Luetscher, head of youth services at Huntley Area Public Library, estimated that all tickets were distributed, with at most 60 children a session. While families explored each exhibit, Thompson provided in-depth explanations regarding the event's major themes. Library volunteers also assisted with the stations.
"We love finding new ways to cooperate with the school district and keep kids engaged and learning," Luetscher said.
When originally established four years ago, the assembly went by the name STEM Museum. A few years ago, art was incorporated - changing the name to STEAM. Thompson said the museum is ever-changing and art allows unsightly technology to be disguised in a visually appealing way.
"I really like being able to take the program to kids who haven't been exposed to this kind of stuff yet and watch their imaginations explode right before my eyes," Thompson said.
After Thompson explained the event's STEAM theme, children we dismissed to explore and interact with each station. Six-year-old Xyla Rizzo investigated the exhibits with her grandmother, Carol Grasser.
"I just felt that I would like to expose her to as much as I could in the way of science," Grasser said. "The more things she sees and experiences, the more opportunities she has in the future."
Source: The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald, http://bit.ly/2aM35yr
Information from: The Daily Gazette, http://www.saukvalley.com
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