Levitating off the ground with hovercraft rides. Interacting with hissing cockroaches and prickly sticks. Learning to maneuver giant robots. Viewing the stars in a mobile planetarium.
Those are just a few of the more than 30 science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) activities at the inaugural Jay Science and Engineering Academy STEM Fest.
The student-organized event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 20 at Jay High School, 7611 Marbach Road. Parking is available in the student and faculty lots.
STEM Fest is free and open to the public with activities geared toward kindergarten through eighth grade students.
Attendees will be given “passports” upon arrival with maps of activities which all take place in the school’s courtyard, cafeteria, gym, and auditorium. The activities are all self-paced driven by age and area of interest. Topics include physics, astronomy, robotics, chemistry, biology, math, and more.
“I have been passionate about STEM since a young age,” says freshman Ethen Melder, one of the event leaders. “I believe that my passion was sparked and has been encouraged over the years by events like this. Our STEM Fest is about lighting more sparks in young children.”
Texas A&M University is bringing a Chemistry Roadshow, a more than hour-long presentation beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the auditorium, led by a professor who incorporates lights, sound, colors, and even fire. Some lucky audience members may be called onstage to participate in experiments.
More than 300 Jay SEA students are involved in the event which is funded in part by a STEM Leadership grant from Tesoro Corporation. Other sponsors and presenters include the San Antonio Zoo, Doseum, Trinity University, UT Health, Mobius Partners, and Southwest Research Institute.
“Our school does so much to prepare us for STEM careers, so I feel that we should give back to the younger generation and prepare them to pick up where we leave off,” says junior Téa Boone.
As part of their community outreach Jay SEA students have brought STEM activities to elementary and middle school students before, but this is the first time the school has hosted an event of this magnitude.
Concessions and STEM Fest t-shirts will be available for purchase with all funds benefiting student activities.
Visit the Northside Facebook page for an album of pictures from the inaugural event.