Discovery Days is here!

A joint program of the Colleges of Science and Engineering, Discovery Days is an annual outreach program that encourages K-12 students to explore the world around them in a creative way by engaging their minds in interactive STEM exhibits. This year’s fall event was held held November 2-3 and drew students from all over Oregon.

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College of Science Dean Sastry Pantula with a reptile specimen

One of Oregon State University’s most popular and beloved traditions is back on campus. On November 2 and 3, 1500 K-12 students, from the first to fifth grades, will be flocking to the La Sells Stewart Center to take part in Discovery Days, an outreach program that immerses students in the rich and diverse worlds of science. They can participate in a wide variety of  hands-on learning exercises that include exploring dry ice experiments, learning about juvenile alligators with the aid of a live specimen, experiencing static electricity, trying their hand at separating mixtures at the chromatography exhibit and much more in dozens of stations that showcase chemistry, zoology, physics, marine science as well as the engineering sciences.

The program strives to inspire future generations of doctors, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists and other growing STEM careers. Discovery Days is sponsored by the Colleges of Science and Engineering and relies on volunteers to run stations showcasing science and engineering. The volunteers are mostly Oregon State science and engineering students eager to pass on their love of science to young students.

discovery-days-pic-6Departments and organizations participating in the event, including Botany & Plant Pathology, Brad’s World Reptiles, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Fisheries & Wildlife, Geosciences, Hatfield Marine Center, Microbiology, Nuclear Engineering and Physics.

More than a decade old, Discovery Days has a rich legacy. It has gotten thousands of students from Linn and Benton counties to discover, enjoy and love science over the years.  Senior instructor of chemistry, Margie Haak, senior instructor on chemistry, has been the coordinator of Discovery Days for the last 13 years.

Experts concur that STEM education starts long before a child reaches high school. Research shows that elementary-age students love hands-on and interactive STEM activities and are more likely to deem science relevant to their future education plans as they progress through school if they are exposed to STEM early. Discovery Days is a highly important program in Oregon that gets young learners interested and engaged in science through repeated exposure. The event takes place twice a year on campus.

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