On Saturday, Jan. 31, students and their families filled Agenstein and Remington Hall to wrangle snakes, observe the planets and test their skills in the Math Maze as a part of the 15th annual Super Science Saturday.
Super Science Saturday is an annual event hosted by the St. Joseph Museum and Missouri Western to promote math and science education to young children through hands on activities and demonstrations. Western Professor of Chemistry Shauna Hiley has been a sponsor of the event since its beginning in 2000.
“We like to have kids come, there is a lot of participation opportunities for kids elementary age and up. There is lots for families to do and see. We have several different booths for the students to do some hands on activities like shrinking plastics and making ‘gloop.’ We also have [booths] looking at fossils and learning about wildlife,” Hiley said.
Kathy Reno, director of public relations for the St. Joseph Museums, was very enthusiastic about the attendance of Super Science Saturday, despite the poor weather conditions this weekend.
“Special events are the way we try to draw people into the St. Joseph museums, since our main goal is to educate [the community]. Super Science Saturday began as a collaboration between MWSU and the St. Joseph museum, originally as a fundraiser, but has since turned into a family event to get children excited about math and science,” Reno said.
With the original Science Saturday starting in 2000 at the Wyeth Tootle Mansion hosting approximately 500 participants, it has since grown into a full-scale event hosting over 1,200 people at Western’s campus in 2015. Bringing in families and community members with a growing number of events including four planetarium shows, two new chemistry demonstrations and hands-on interactions with reptiles and insects in Casey’s Creatures and Reptomania.
Chief Meteorologist Mike Bracciano of KQ2 was also in attendance and was presenting experiments relating to weather and demonstrating the uses of a green screen in a weather report alongside Christian Johansen of KNPN Fox 26, who was presenting information on emergency weather conditions.
In addition to the support of the Wildlife Society and the Alchemy Club, Super Science Saturday also included several university students running booths and programs throughout Agenstein and Remington. Senior Jamie Lynch monitored a table of microscopes and plant samples to help the community better understand the structure of a plant cell.
“This is my first year and I think it’s really exciting, it is nice to be able to educate the kids and see how excited they get about learning [about the] cell. I didn’t think they would be so excited about using the microscopes,” Lynch said.
Junior Tyler Hughes was also excited about helping students learn about botany and geology using microscopes.
“[This year] I was helping the community to see chloroplasts that help the plant photosynthesize on different [microscope] slides. I was also helping the geology department show different types of rocks and fossils within different deposits. I have done this [program] for three years and I enjoy doing this and usually learn new things myself,” Hughes said.