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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Guest Author: Lisa Herrmann, science writer, Arizona SciTech

The 2015 Buckeye Air Fair will offer everything from legendary aircraft to legendary airmen, including a special visit from the Tuskegee Airmen. The family-free event includes a car show presented by Jones Ford Buckeye, Military re-enactments, a kid zone, food, vendors, live music, RC demonstrations, vintage aircraft on display, sky-diving demonstrations and much more.

The event is Saturday, February 21 from 9:00 AM – 3:00PM, and it is the third year for the one day SciTech Festival in Buckeye.  The 2015 Festival will provide interactive science, math and technology activities for everyone – adults, young people and families.  The participating SciTech Partners represent several disciplines in the science and technology fields. This is a STEM event you won’t want to miss!

The Buckeye Airport is located at 3000 S. Palo Verde Road (exit 109 off Interstate 10). For more information about the Buckeye Air Fair, please visit www.buckeyeairfair.com.

Guest Author, Lisa Herrmann, science writer, Arizona SciTech

Power Ranch Elementary, a Higley School District A Rated campus, will present an amazing community interactive event to demonstrate STEM Learning. STEM is the representation of the key field areas of science, engineering, technology and math.  This exciting STEM Night event is scheduled for February 26th, from 5:30 to 7:00pm.

Power Ranch STEM Night will be featured as one of the “Higley STEM Night Series of Signature Events” and be included in the Arizona SciTech Festival. A member of the Arizona SciTech team will participate in each of the events, as well as share information about other local programs to teachers and students.

During STEM Night, teachers, classes, clubs and business partners present hands-on examples of STEM in action. Classes may show off how magnets work, launch rockets, demonstrate engineering feats or display the life cycle of plants. This year, Power Ranch teachers will be facilitating many STEM activities for all participants to enjoy. Some of these hands-on activities include the Exploration of Topology Mazes, Engineering of 3D Structures, the Science of Magic Tricks, Exploding Volcanos, Engineering of Wind Powered Race Cars and the unseen world of Microscope Science.

Local businesses and community groups will also be taking an active role in the STEM event. Representatives from many local businesses, such as SRP, Heliae, SubZero Ice Cream, Tech Shop, Dignity Kids Inc., Hunt & Caraway and ASU Robotics will be here to share their expertise and engage students in future career exploration.  Each represented group will present interactive displays that will show students how science, technology, engineering and math are used in the world outside of school.

“STEM and STEAM Nights are incredibly important because these events bring our entire community together. Students are able to share their excitement about STEM with their families. The events also give families a chance to learn more about what STEM is. The business connections are important because when our students interact with leaders in the STEM industry, it gives them the opportunity to utilize critical, higher-order thinking skills such as creating and problem solving. We are very fortunate to have the support of the SciTech Festival in recognizing how these events contribute a great deal to the overall education of our students,” said Donna Jagielski, Higley’s Instructional Coach of Technology.   The event will be held on the Power Ranch Elementary Campus, 4351 S. Ranch House Parkway in Gilbert, 85297. The Power Ranch STEM Night is bound to be a wonderful experience for the entire family.”

Guest Author:  Rita Standerfer, science writer, Arizona SciTech  

Chandler students are learning amazing things! And an event that demonstrates this in a colorful way is through the Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF).

HISEF features student science fair projects as well as hands-on learning experiences at the fair’s interactive booths. The Saturday fair takes place at Hamilton High School and runs from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (with an awards ceremony from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.).

Students will showcase STEM projects that incorporate what they are learning in their science classroom.

Vendors at HISEF are all representatives from STEM-based community businesses and programs.

Now in its 18th year, HISEF brings together the STEM community–students, program ambassadors and businesses.

Organizers hope to promote local STEM-based organizations through the demonstration of incredible things that Chandler students are learning and experiencing.

Guest Author: Rita Standerfer, science writer, Arizona SciTech Festival

The Tres Rios Nature Festival invites young and old to learn first-hand about nature through activities and interactive displays at a thriving wildlife habitat.

Tres Rios Nature Festival takes place March 7 and 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Avondale’s Base and Meridian Wildlife Area.

Now in its 11th year, Tres Rios Nature Festival offers something for everyone from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to visitors who have never fished, canoed or shot an arrow. If you want to learn about nature, step out into the great outdoors and check out birds, animals and plants in their home!

The Festival’s focus areas include ecology, biology and conservation. Against the backdrop of a flowing river, exotic animals and diverse plants, scientists and environmental professionals will provide demonstrations about the challenges, curiosities and mysteries of the natural world.

Presentations include: testing water to ensure it is safe to drink; local wildlife and protecting natural habitats; flood control; Audubon groups; and more!

People of all ages and abilities can try their hand at canoeing, fishing, archery and getting up close with animals in the wild, all while learning about conservation, ecology and biology.

Be sure to check out the Recycle Fashion Show at noon on Saturday, March 7th.  Kids are able to enter the contest by filling out the form at www.tresriosnaturefestival.com and creating their own “unique fashion”.

Come see the natural treasure of Tres Rios!

Roosevelt Sustain 1 (3) (1)

Guest Author: Ester Skiera, science writer, Arizona SciTech

Arizona is filled with a lot of SciTech events in February and March. One of them is Roosevelt Center Sustainability STEAM Festival. The weather is nice around this time, so it’s really the time for we Arizona residents to find things to do outside the house, such as attending this brand new festival that’s designed to gather students, industry professionals, scientist, artists, and community wellness organizations to present the community with exhibitions on all things related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).

The STEAM Festival is also the public grand opening of the George B. Brooks Sr. Community School, home to an unprecedented collection of community wellness organizations and the Roosevelt Center of Sustainability. Thus, the day at the festival includes tours of the Center’s permanent 13,000sqft learning greenhouse, live aquaponics installation, hydroponics laboratories, vermiculture systems, science exhibits, culinary telecommunications, and movies.

In addition, industry professionals will be showcasing a lot of cool stuff going on in technology industries. You haven’t had a chance to check out 3D printing? Now you can see it at the festival, along with other things, such as management technologies, virtual reality, renewable energies, animal husbandry, predatory birds, architecture, chemistry, and many more. Students from the Roosevelt Elementary District also showcase robotics, clean vehicles, and musical performances. Now that’s a lot of things going on in one place! It will be difficult to see them all!

“The event is important to school age kids in that they will be immersed in an environment designed to inspire and empower students and families to embrace STEAM. Our participants come from all corners of STEAM, providing kids with a chance to experience and communicate with those who have made the theme their life’s work,” says Jeremy Truett, Roosevelt Center Sustainability STEAM Festival’s co-chair.

As a debut event, visitors are valued the most. Truett invites visitors to explore the grounds and engage with the exhibitors. “With the hopes that our passion for STEAM might inspire the community to embrace the concepts,” he states. Truett also credits the role of Arizona SciTech Festival in helping to spread the word about the event. “The outreach associated with the organization is amazing and we are grateful to be part of it,” he adds.

The Roosevelt Center of Sustainability is now actually open for field trips. The Festival is a public preview of how the Center is truly an awesome educational attraction in Phoenix. “The best thing is, the notion that visitors will be exposed to the combined efforts of students, educators, STEAM professionals, businesses, and community groups, to bring immersive education to the community,” Truett explains. Permanently, the Center has transformed a retired elementary school campus into a living breathing STEAM learning resource.

In short, another gem was just established in Arizona. It’s our responsibility to revere and use it accordingly so our kids can learn more about STEAM. Don’t waste this priceless resource. Let’s get our kids to the festival and turn them into STEAM enthusiasts.

Roosevelt Center Sustainability STEAM Festival takes place at The Roosevelt Center of Sustainability on Feb 21, 2015.

Guest Author:  Ester Skiera, science writer, Arizona SciTech

March is Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month in Arizona. What’s the best way to celebrate the month? Going to an expo, dedicated to the greatness of archaeology, of course! The Arizona Archaeology Expo is the highlight event of the month and it brings together archaeologists, historians, agency archaeologists, non-profit groups, museums, Tribes, and numerous other preservation partners to help tell the many interesting stories of Arizona’s past.

“We encourage the public to appreciate the fact that archaeological sites are non-renewable resources that, once lost to nature, development, vandalism, or looting, are lost forever. Therefore, we try to install a sense of community pride and stewardship in these resources so that these sites are preserved for generations to come,” says Kris Dobschuetz, RPA from Compliance Specialist/Archaeology, State Historic Preservation Office.

Archaeology is all about preserving the past. For kids, it’s probably not that exciting. But don’t hesitate to bring your kids to the expo. Instead, encourage them to engage with the past. There are so many interesting activities associated with the Archaeology Expo. There are guided tours to nearby historical sites (Territorial Prison, Quartermaster Depot, the Sanguinetti House Musuem). Feeling like becoming knowledgable? There are lecture series on camels, petroglyphs, and how mail used to be delivered in Arizona. Looking for interactive activities?  Kids would enjoy interactive hands-on activities such as the rabbit stick tossing and throwing a spear with an atlatl. Additionally, there’s a flintknapper who can create projectile points using ancient technology. Apart from those, exhibitors from various organizations will be on site to talk about their organization’s and research.

The Archaeology Expo has been going on since 1989. The first Expo was at Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park in Phoenix. “Each year the Expo is located in a different part of Arizona – with the caveat that we need a location just below the Mogollon Rim – since our celebration is always outside and always in March,” Dobschuetz explains. Past locations of the Expo include Coolidge, Cottonwood, Tucson, Tubac, Globe, Payson, Mesa, and Yuma.

What an expo needs is visitors, a lot of them. Let’s make sure we attend the event and have some fun learning archaeology. “We have such wonderfully talented archaeological and historical professionals and knowledgeable lay persons that thoroughly enjoy being able to interact with the public at our Expo,” Dobschuetz says. Most of exhibits are a healthy mix of education and on-hands on learning that really engages the public. “Interacting with our visitors gives us a great opportunity to share our knowledge of archaeology and express why it’s so important to preserve these resources,” he adds.

Visitors can have a wonderful time exploring and learning about the many fascinating aspects of Arizona’s past. Dobschuetz  states that one of the benefits of moving the Expo locations around each year is that it can highlight some of the local attractions that visitors might otherwise be unaware of, and that gives our hosts an opportunity to share their local history. “At the end of the event, visitors can take away anew-found appreciation for archaeology and history, and the knowledge of how to be good stewards of our heritage resources,” he explains.

Is this something you think you’d like to explore? Why not! We all can learn from the past. Archaeology, the study of our past, is a richly dynamic field that borrows heavily from other scientific disciplines. So, let’s join them at the Expo, and get ready for an eye-opening experience.

The 2015 Arizona Archaeology Expo takes place on March 7, 2015 at Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park.

Mesa Full STEAM (3)

Guest Author:  Rita Standerfer, science writer, Arizona SciTech Festival

It’s FULL STEAM AHEAD for budding scientists in Mesa! Here participants will have an opportunity to connect with local business leaders in the fields of engineering, medicine and technology at a networking expo in Mesa!

Mesa Public Schools hosts the third SciTech Expo on February 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Red Mountain High School (7301 E. Brown Rd.).

At this family-friendly event, students can share their enthusiasm for STEM with the business community and develop connections with key partners in a variety of industries.

The event will feature student-run interactive demonstrations as well as hands-on “make-and-take” activities. Mechanically inclined visitors should be sure to check out a student-built dune buggy that will be running in the Baja 500!

Student-led tours will bring participants to our Career and Technical Education campus to walk through facilities in the fields of: Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Agricultural Science, Engineering, Automotive and Welding Technologies.

Following the Saturday event is the District Science Fair Awards Ceremony at 2:00 p.m.

So if you’re looking to meet the science pros, learn about STEAM jobs and find out how to get more involved in your field of interest, come down to Mesa’s Red Mountain for SciTech Expo!

Guest Author:  Anna Poulos, National Geographic Learning/Centage Learning

Have you ever found yourself absorbed in the chapters of a suspenseful crime  novel, or indulging in late-night episodes of CSI? You’re not alone. Crime lab TV dramas have fostered growing public interest in the art and science of criminal investigation. Just what is it that keeps us so fascinated? For some, it’s the systematic application of a good investigator’s keen observations, while others are captivated by the painstaking techniques scientists use to gather and examine evidence. Whether it’s on the big screen or in real life, successful investigations rely on forensic science to solve cases. So what exactly is the science of forensics? Join us at Mesa Public School’s SciTech Expo “Full Steam Ahead” event to find out! As a member of National Geographic’s Arizona team, I will be on hand February 21st from 10am – 2pm to explore forensic science with students, teachers, parents and anyone just a little curious about crime scene investigation! Step into the lab and help me crack a case by participating in some exciting hands-on activities, or simply explore the dynamic display which will include captivating images, glimpses into actual crime and lab scenes, intriguing facts, and actual case studies. Learn about the handling, collection and examination of trace evidence, such as DNA, soil, fingerprints, and even bones and blood! How keen are your powers of observation? Participate in our profiling activity to find out! It’s sure to be a challenge for all ages. Teachers are encouraged to review National Geographic’s Forensic Science materials; I’ll have textbooks on hand, with a few sample copies to give away to interested teachers. Written by renowned author Anthony Bertino, Forensic Science: Fundamentals and Investigations provides chapter-by-chapter descriptions of specific types of evidence and the techniques used to examine it. Aren’t you just a little curious? Don’t let the suspense kill you! Join me at Mesa Public School’s Full STEAM Ahead event to crack the case and learn more about forensic science!


1Mount Graham Regional Medical Center              2AZSciTech Gila Valley Festival

Contact: Ryan Rapier, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center

Gila Valley Festival Activities to Showcase Medical Science Careers 

Safford, AZ, February 2, 2015

What is phlebotomy, you ask? The Gila Valley Health, Safety & Science Festival will offer free blood draws (phlebotomy) to the public Friday and Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. to noon. Individuals will receive a lab report with information about their diabetes risk, prostate cancer risk, their overall cholesterol count, as well as HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (Low density lipoprotein) numbers.  Which one is good cholesterol and which one is bad cholesterol?  Come to the Festival and find out!  This first annual Festival – which is an expansion of the Gila Valley Health Fair, a Valley tradition for over 40 years — is showcasing safety, health, science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and associated careers in each field. Not only will there be free services, activities and screenings, but the public will learn about careers in local high-tech jobs and how to pursue careers in the fastest growing job markets in the state and nation – those in science and technology.  The Festival activities will explain many fields with “funny” names, like phlebotomy, how they can be fun as well as work, and how to pursue science careers.

“Phlebotomy is a key field for helping to diagnose illness and provide key information to doctors making decisions in treatment of disease,” says Ryan Rapier, director of marketing and development at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.  “Phlebotomists complete a state certification program and work in labs, hospital, doctors’ offices, research centers and at insurance companies.  Festival attendees will not only have the opportunity for a free blood screening, but they can try their own hand at drawing blood from a manikin at the Blood and Bones activity. Explore whether a phlebotomy career may be in your future.”  Find more opportunities to explore – like The Amazing Body activity – which lets Festival-goers find out why some people don’t like broccoli and why you can’t taste your food if you have a stuffy nose. Visit the “Fighting Pathogens and Sickness” activity to explore how illness spreads and what to do to prevent it.

There is no fee to the public to attend or participate in activities. Festival goers can become eligible for science related prizes to be given by drawing.  Food and beverages from local vendors will be available for purchase. The Festival takes place February 26-28 at Eastern Arizona College’s North Campus and Discovery Park Campus. More information about Festival activities, sponsors, maps and schedules can be found at www.eac.edu/SciTechFestival.

The Arizona SciTech Festival is a state-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math held annually in February and March. Spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Arizona SciTech Festival is a grass roots collaboration of organizations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12. If you would like more information about the Festival visit www.azscitech.com.

Contact: Ryan Rapier
Telephone: Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center
Email: ryan.rapier@mtgraham.org
Website: www.eac.edu/SciTechFestival

2015 Gila Valley Sci Tech Festival Sponsors

1Gila Sponsors

1Google Spark Apps

Guest Author: Jennifer Alvarez, Digital Media and Marketing Officer, Town of Gilbert, AZ 

Gilbert, Ariz. - Gilbert will soon have a new mobile app thanks to local high school students and a partnership with Google.  The Students Participate in App Resources and Knowledge (SPARK) App League kicked off its third year of innovative app building on January 30th.

This year, the students will have help from Google, the newest sponsor in the competition.  SPARK App League is hosted by Gilbert, Arizona in partnership with Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

At the launch, students learned about creating mobile apps and were given access to a wealth of public information from Gilbert.  Students will use that information to design a new tourism app over the next two months.  They will have help along the way from ASU mentors. 

Google software developer, Jessie Chavez, came from Chicago to speak to students at the launch event. 

“It’s amazing to see what Gilbert is offering, making data useful for it’s citizens,” said Chavez. “I think that’s the kind of mission that Google has; we take information and make it useful.” 

The winning designs will be incorporated into Gilbert’s newest app for the public to download.  A panel of judges will determine the winning application before an event this May. 

Students can still register to participate in this year’s competition until February 14th. For more information about the SPARK App League or to register, visit www.sparkappleague.com.