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A Celebration of Discovery

Posted on May 30th, 2014
The number one message of the day? Science is fun!

The number one message of the day? Science is fun!

The Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS) once again welcomed hundreds of K-12 students and their families to an event celebrating education and discovery. The IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 3, allowed students to experience science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a variety of hands-on activities. The mighty Mississippi provided a beautiful backdrop for the event on a sunny, clear spring day.

One of the day’s highlights came when University of Iowa College of Engineering Dean Alec Scranton and Provost Barry Butler demonstrated the properties of various items when plunged into liquid nitrogen. David Loebsack, U.S. representative for Iowa’s second congressional district, was also in attendance, along with Jared Hershberger, Iowa’s district representative in Loebsack’s office.

But as far as celebrities go, it’s hard to top Herky the Hawk, the University of Iowa mascot. Cy, his colleague from Iowa State University, was there too. Despite the intense athletic rivalry between the two schools, no feathers flew on this particular day!

“It was wonderful to see so many happy kids and families,” says Doug Schnoebelen, LACMRERS director and a research scientist at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. “We had 30 exhibits this year, four featuring demonstrations.” He adds, “It was a great event that linked Muscatine and surrounding communities with the University of Iowa. It gave us the chance to really connect with students and their parents.”

The Iowa Flood Center's flood demonstration model was one of the most popular exhibits at the festival. Here, IFC student Scott Rowe shows how changes in the watershed can affect movement of floodwater.

The Iowa Flood Center’s flood demonstration model was one of the most popular exhibits at the festival. Here, IFC student Scott Rowe shows how changes in the watershed can affect movement of floodwater.

One particularly popular exhibit was the interactive flood model demonstrated by Iowa Flood Center engineers. Other exhibits included: a demonstration of generating electricity with a bike; polymers; fish growth and development; a demonstration by the Iowa Physics Team; robots and robotics; lens and the human eye; and navigation on the Mississippi River, just to name a few. Many Muscatine businesses contributed to the event, and provided funding for almost 30 prizes awarded to students who completed a punch card proving they had visited at least 10 exhibits. The prizes included an iPad mini, iPod Nanos, numerous gift cards, and even a $500 scholarship to Muscatine College for juniors and seniors.

Iowa Flood Center researchers Scott Rowe (left) and Felipe Quintero show Herky how floodwaters move through the watershed.

Iowa Flood Center researchers Scott Rowe (left) and Felipe Quintero show Herky how floodwaters move through the watershed.

LACMRERS is a unit of IIHR, and part of the UI College of Engineering. Other sponsors of the day’s events included: John Deere, Muscatine Schools, Muscatine Power and Water, HNI, Muscatine Chamber of Commerce, Stanley, GPC, Monsanto, and Muscatine Magazine.

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