One of Oregon State University’s most popular and beloved traditions is back on campus. On May 2 and 3, 2017, more than 1,500 elementary school students will flock to take part in Discovery Days, an outreach program held twice annually that immerses students in the rich and diverse worlds of science.
The events are held in LaSells Stewart Center on Oregon State’s campus.
Students can participate in a wide variety of hands-on learning exercises that include tye dying using chromatography, exploring dry ice experiments, learning about juvenile alligators with the aid of a live specimen, experiencing static electricity and much more in dozens of stations that showcase chemistry, zoology, physics, marine science as well as the engineering sciences.
Sponsored by the Colleges of Science and Engineering, Discovery Days strives to inspire future generations of doctors, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists and other growing STEM careers. The program relies on volunteers to run stations showcasing science and engineering. The volunteers are mostly Oregon State science and engineering students eager to pass along their love of science to young students.
Participating organizations include the Departments of Botany and Plant Pathology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Fisheries and Wildlife, Microbiology, Nuclear Engineering, Physics and Geosciences as well as Brad’s World Reptiles and Hatfield Marine Science Center.
More than a decade old, Discovery Days has a rich legacy. It has helped thousands of students from Linn and Benton counties to discover, enjoy and love science through the years. Senior instructor of chemistry, Margie Haak, senior instructor of chemistry, has been the coordinator of Discovery Days for the last 14 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 an important program in Oregon that piques the interest of young learners and engages them in science through deep and frequent exposure.