Levitating off the ground with hovercraft rides. Learning to code and maneuver robots. Designing and launching rockets. Viewing the stars in a mobile planetarium.
Those are just a few of the more than 50 science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) activities at the second annual Jay Science and Engineering Academy STEM Fest.
The student-organized event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, May 19 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. This year, new activities have been added especially for the middle school audience.
“We want these kids to leave inspired and have a new perspective on what scientists and engineers do and how they impact the world,” says senior Eric Nicholas Caballero. “We hope they’ll be a new generation of scientists and leaders.”
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.
“STEM Fest gives kids opportunities to explore many sides of STEM and get hands-on experiences that they not be able to get at home or school,” says senior Emily Forcum. “Being able to see kids’ faces light up when they find something they really love and watch them turn to their parents and say they want to do it at home makes all of the hard work worth it.”
The grand finale of the event is a Chemistry Roadshow, a more than hour-long presentation beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium, led by a Texas A&M University professor who incorporates lights, sound, colors, and even fire. Some lucky audience members may be called onstage to participate in experiments.
More than 350 Jay SEA students are involved in the event which is funded in part by a STEM Leadership grant from Andeavor. Other sponsors and presenters include Girls Inc., Doctors Without Borders, the Society of Military Engineers, Science Mill, the University of the Incarnate Word, Texas A&M University at San Antonio, Doseum, Trinity University, UT Health, UTSA, Southwest Research Institute, and Starbucks.
As part of their community outreach Jay SEA students regularly bring STEM activities to elementary and middle school students, but STEM Fest is hosted at their campus and last year attracted 1,000 attendees.
Jay SEA spirit items will be available for purchase with all funds benefiting student activities. Food trucks will also be located in the front of the school for attendees to purchase food.