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More than 500 kids attend STEM at the Museum

In honor of Nuclear Science Week, more than 500 kids went the Museum of Idaho Thursday for “STEM at the Museum.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math — and this is all in efforts to educate kids about this growing field.

“To watch the children’s faces when they see a bit of chemistry magic or physics magic or engineering magic. I say ‘magic’ because to them, it’s magic. To us, as old as you get it’s still magical,” said Dr. Catherine Riddle, a research scientist in radiochemistry at the Idaho National Laboratory.

It was an interactive day full of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And the kids came for a little bit of everything.

“Um, about space,” said second-grader Isaiah Lottes.

“Um, science,” said second-grader Naomi Hanson

Organizers wanted to show how exciting STEM can be and what it means to be a part of careers that can change the world.

“Maybe as they get older, math can be a little tough. I admit it, I’m the first one to admit that math can be a little tough. But when they say, ‘Okay, I’m in a tough spot right now,’ and they look back at days like this when they were younger — they can go, ‘But it’s fun. Chemistry and physics and engineering — they’re fun.’ And that gets them through the tough parts,” said Riddle.

The museum was packed with K-12 students exploring STEM and the careers that can come with them.

“I like the planets the best,” said Lottes.

“I was really excited to come here because I’ve been here before and there’s, like, a bunch of cool technology here,” said fourth-grader Sam Hanson.

There were hands-on workshops in chemistry, physics, robotics, nuclear energy, space exploration, and computer simulation.

And it looks like the future of stem is bright with Naomi Hanson saying, “I might be a science person.”

The Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, the INL, University of Idaho, the Idaho Falls Zoo, the Museum of Idaho, among others all presented at the day-long event.

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