Silly Science Sunday, 7 Days of STEM Aim to Advance Science

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Silly Science Sunday tomorrow will again kick off a week-long promotion of science and related fields across the region. 

Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology is staging its annual showcase of its offerings Sunday and those of other participants. The event also launches 7 Days of STEM, which highlights what area organizations are doing to advance the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STREAM, when art is added to the mix.

“We want to be able to get as much STEM in the face of as many different people as we can. Because we support the learning of learners of all ages,” says Marvin Logan, Oh Wow’s executive director.

“We have a really strong ecosystem of movers and groovers and doers throughout the community, and the stem ecosystem extends beyond just education,” he says.

Central Square downtown will be the setting for STEAM-based exhibitors and demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Silly Science Sunday will feature several exhibitors that haven’t participated before, including Ohio State University’s mobile unit, says Colleen Ruby, Oh Wow director of operations and festival organizer. The event also will feature bounce houses and more stage shows among other new features.    

“I’m really excited to have the mobile unit from Ohio State out as Oh Wow starts to focus in on doing more programs that combine creativity and coding. It’s going to be really cool to have an aspect of that present at Silly Science Sunday,” Logan says.

Inside the center, there will be races using robots. In addition, visitors will be exposed to additive manufacturing technology via the Alice Engineer in Wonderland traveling exhibit, created by America Makes.

A week of STEM-related activities will follow at locations in the Mahoning Valley and western Pennsylvania, including area libraries and businesses.

This will be the third 7 Days of STEM, and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being able to do activities in different places is fun, Logan says. “We’re looking forward to our egg drop challenge that’s going to take place in the [DeBartolo] Commons down at Southern Park Mall,” he says.

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County will host events next week at several of its branches showcasing. Among them are icoding to create 3-D printed objects, amateur radio, wind science and moon journaling STEAM activities. The library offers STEM programming and activities year-round and has a long relationship with Oh Wow, says Maggie Henderson, PLYMC strategic communications officer.

“We know how important that is for kids coming up in this day and age to have that science and technology background,” Henderson says. “And we also thought it was a great way to be a part of so many other organizations that are coming together for a collective experience in our communities.”

The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library is participating in 7 Days of STEM for the first time, says Cheryl Bush, marketing and public relations manager. Events will focus on coding, interactions between art and science and a technology event focusing on children age 9 to 12.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight a few of the many STEM-based programs that the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library offers throughout the year for children of all ages,” Bush says. “Exploring science and technology through hands-on activities and play is a great way for kids to learn.”

Logan says he is pleased that the New Castle Public Library is participating, reestablishing Oh Wow’s long-standing relationships in western Pennsylvania. “We’re looking to get back to having a good footprint in that community,” he says.

A handful of area businesses also are taking part in the seven-day science showcase, including Sarah’s Ceramic Studio in Austintown. Kits, which will be available for purchase, will include a half-pound of clay, instruction (including the science behind firing clay), use of tools, two firings and a glaze session.    

“Clay is chemistry. You need to know how the molecules in clay move in order to properly use it. You need to know how the kiln fires the clay and at what temperature,” says owner Sarah Fenton. “Will the clay vitrify or won’t it? When working with glazes, it’s important that you know what makes up the glazes, what compounds make what reaction. If you don’t know, you could end up putting a non-food-safe glaze onto a cup and making people sick.”

Other participants in Silly Science Sunday and 7 Days of STEM include The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Playhouse and Escape Boardman. “The Lego Movie” will be shown Friday night at Wean Park.

A full schedule of activities is available at Oh Wow’s website.

Pictured at top: Colleen Ruby, Oh Wow director of operations and festival organizer, and Marvin Logan, Oh Wow executive director.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.