Whose dream it’s always been to watch a live explosion, touch a giant snake or announce the weather in front of a green screen was able to do exactly that last Saturday.
“Super Science Saturday,” an annual event held by St. Joseph Museums and Missouri Western, sets out to introduce children in the various sciences. But also the ones young at heart had their fair share of fun.
“The skulls downstairs were my favorite,” said Perry Dalrymple, who visitied the event with his wife Tanya and daughter Emily, 10, whose favorite were “the airplanes.” Her mother teaches science in the district so “the whole family is pretty interested in science,” said Tanya Dalrymple.
Athena Davis, a biology major with an emphasis in zoology, helped out with some of the animals the department had out to show the audience. This included a black rattlesnake, a rough green snake and an alligator snapping turtle – species that might seem intimidating at first.
“Snakes in particular a lot of kids think it’s creepy or dangerous but I see we have several species out here that are really, really sweet,” Davis said.
Other sciences interested minds could learn about besides biology included chemistry, forensic science, physics, psychology, mathematics, computer science, electronics, meteorology, geology, paleontology – a big variety of sciences. With 1555 participants this year’s Super Science Saturday has been the biggest so far according to Dr. Shauna Hiley. The event is co-hosted by St. Joseph Museums and MWSU on the last Saturday in January. The booths and shows are provided by science teachers and student groups from Missouri Western and several high schools, including Central, Benton, South Holt, St. Joseph Christian, and Union Star. From campus, Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society, The Wildlife Society, American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Alchemist Club all ran hands-on booths for participants this year. St. Joseph Museums started the event in 2001 at the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion where it ran for several years, Hiley explained. When the event became to big for the space in 2011, Super Science Saturday moved to Remington Hall. The event is specifically aimed toward children. Hiley explains that the job opportunities in science fields are growing, for example “improvements in energy production, health care, transportation, construction, food production, or forensic investigation.”
“We as a society will need people to bring their talents to these fields. Where better to start recruiting than with inquisitive young minds? We want to spark that imagination and get them to see themselves as future scientists,” Hiley said.
If children show an interest in science, it is important to support their child’s newly found fascination.
“There are many computer games or apps that can feed their curiosity, as well as “heroes” like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil Degrasse Tyson to inspire. Take advantage of events like ours, or summer camp programs in science, or getting involved with that science fair project at school. Believe me, when I told my parents in high school that I wanted to be a chemist…well it wouldn’t have been their first choice, but they were very supportive. That made all the difference for my confidence when the subject got tougher and more challenging,” Hiley recommended parents.