#CURIOUS
Super Science Saturday

January 17, 2022

CHARACTER TRAIT: CURIOUS

DEFINITION: eager to know or learn something

All you curious, brave, intrigued or surprise-seeking persons, preferably who have young people in your care:  Check out Super Science Saturday for an uncommon learning experience. You can always settle your hair down on Monday.

The annual Super Science Saturday event, hosted by the St. Joseph Museum, Inc., Missouri Western State University, and several partners and participants, offers the really good and fun stuff. (Think small, safe bursts of fire. That kind of science).

We are talking kids and parents in photo-worthy moments of their hair standing on end, transmitting energy. A real “weather station” to practice future careers in newscasting and science. Hands-on elements include the math maze, multiple experiments and of course, the beloved show and tell (and learning) from various reptile species. Missouri Western State University chemistry faculty share chemistry shows around the clock,  and guests can ‘ooh” and “aah” to overhead shows all day in the Bushman Planetarium. For starters.

“Only in a city like St. Joseph can you combine science and technology education with community partners, bring in several hundred local kids and their families and have it be a smash success year after year,” says Dr. Jon Rhoad, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Missouri Western State University. “It’s a fun day of fun and learning, and it follows national trends for communities to strive toward enhanced STEAM-based experiences.”

This explains why there’s a lot more going on than flashy experiments and loud surprises at events like Super Science Saturday. STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. Experts say using STEAM in education results in students who take thoughtful risks, commit to persistence in problem-solving, collaborate often and work their way through the creative process.

Sara Parks, Programming, Events, and Volunteer Manager, St. Joseph Museum, says the day is a way to help students find new ways to think about science, technology and math. “Super Science Saturday has been a strong local community event for over twenty years. I think it speaks volumes to our shared curiosity, love of science and the wonderful community organizations that come together to put this on for our kids,” says Parks.

Parks also says that the St. Joseph Museum is dedicated to transformative experiences, and the event helps bridge the “gap” between left and right brain thinkers. “There is so much growth and joy when areas of STEAM interact. Whether that is looking at a chemical reaction occur or figuring out how sound moves to make music in an instrument, we are lucky enough in St. Joe to have so many community partners that come together for a shared effort.”

The event, and others like it across the year in St. Joseph, also fits in nicely as part of the Imagine 2040 strategic plan for the city. Since April 2018, Imagine St. Joseph 2040 – launched by the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater St. Joseph – has engaged hundreds of individuals to work together on shared goals. Some of these goals include building a further collaboration between MWSU students, resources and the larger community, a.k.a. the “university town” feeling to help retain local talent. Other goals include extending the educational platform to tie in more key areas of science and technology from a multi-disciplinary approach.

Super Science Saturday helps showcase not just fun science, but the ongoing goals toward collaboration between the local university and area high schools. “Area high school students help in many of the display and demonstration areas, as they have since the event was created,” says Parks.  “Conversations and connections are everywhere for parents, kids, students and experts at every level. It really is the kind of collaboration we want, throughout the year.”

So. Now you know. Learning about science in St. Joseph can be really crazy, delightfully unpredictable and uncommonly fun – especially if it’s presented in St. Joseph Super Science Saturday style.

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