Field Trip: Mineral County STEM Festival

Today some of my Jr. FIRST Lego League kids and I attended the Mineral County STEM Festival at Potomac State College in WV. This wasn’t the first year for the festival, and yet, I had never heard of it before. One of my JFLL parents told me about it, and I decided that it would be a perfect opportunity for all of us to take a field trip. Out of my 6 kids, only 3 were able to go. Two had a cub scout event today, and the other had his first baseball game of the season.

The fair was to run from 12 PM until 4 PM this afternoon. To be honest, I’m not sure why they don’t run it all day long. There are so many events at the festival that there’s no way to actually visit them all within that time period. I’m sure there’s some logistic that prevents it, but still. Just look at all of these events:

Our crew met up at Davis Center for lunch. The air was full of energy, and the kids were excited. We decided to head to the gymnasium first because that’s where a large majority of the Lego robotics were, as well as a FIRST Lego League team. I really wanted the kids to see what the next step up was required to do. While there, were also explored bicycles and gyroscopes, and stomp rockets. The kids got to play with NXT robotics, and see all of the ways that others had programmed them to work.

After the gymnasium, we headed to the science hall, where we spent another large part of our afternoon. We played with gears, toyed with the OSMO system for iPad (sidenote: I want this even more now!), explored how a river changes, checked out anatomy, used catapults to launch marshmallows, and even saw how lasers worked. There were other things, but there’s just so much that we did that it’s hard to remember everything.

Our final stop for the afternoon was the library. There wasn’t as much here, but that was okay. First we saw how a green screen worked, and the kids had a blast making themselves disappear on camera. They explored a variety of fossils that had been 3D printed, learned how a hydroponics setup works, and then saw a 3D printer in action. I also want one of those, by the way.

By the time we had finished in the library, there were only about 15 minutes left in the fair, and the parents were more exhausted than the kids. They would have loved to keep on going if they could have. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I’ve added some pictures of some of the events we attended. I could only add the ones where the faces weren’t showing though due to privacy. I would definitely love to attend something like this again though. I’m sure the kids will be talking about it for awhile!

Riding a bike as part of a simulation

Designing the outside of a rocket for the stomp rocket station

Exploring the components of blood

Playing a game where each child was a drop of water and had to roll a die to see what happened to them at each stage; they earned a bead that told their story.

Learning about changes in a river system

3D printing a piece for the hydroponics lab

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