A day of science

Apr. 13, 2013 @ 07:16 AM

Isothermal Community College was buzzing with science activity on Friday.

Over 900 sixth grade students from Rutherford and Polk counties attended the Isothermal Science and Technology Expo on campus, which included 32 exhibits featuring some form of science, math, engineering or technology.

"Last year when we did this we had about 500 students. It was so well-received among teachers and school systems that we decided this year to include all of the sixth grades from the counties," said Mike Gavin, director of marketing and community relations.

The expo included interactive exhibits such as How Machines Know What To Do, Social Networking and Data Center Operations, Sustainability Technology, Electrical Systems, How the News is Made and many more.

"When we first started talking about doing it, we looked at age groups and sixth grade was a good time to start getting kids exposed to broader aspects of science," Gavin said. "We want to get them fired up early and start planting those seeds."

Of those exhibits, 16 were selected from local high schools and presented by students. The other half of the exhibits were presented by Isothermal faculty, staff and students along with personnel from community partners including Duke Energy, Facebook and Kidsenses Children's Museum.

"It's a learning experience for the sixth graders that attend, for the high school students that present and for our students who do other presentations with their teachers," Gavin said. "It's a win all the way around for everyone involved. Plus it gets kids over here so they are more familiar with ICC. They get to start to see the variety of great programs that we have here."

This year, the expo also included an act by Garry Krinsky called "Toying with Science." In the performance, he explores the scientific principles of gravity, leverage, fulcrums, simple machines and much more.

"We added the show this year to give the expo a different dimension. We wanted to mix it up so they weren't touring all day. We split them up so that half of them were getting the tour while the other half were watching the show, then they switched," Gavin said. "It's a big juggling act to coordinate who is going where."

According to Gavin, the ICC expo is included in the North Carolina Science Festival, a nationwide celebration of science that occurs for two weeks every April.

"This went so well last year that we have been recognized by the North Carolina Science Festival as one of their expo events. We have been put in a relatively elite group because we are reaching out to so many people," Gavin said.

Jonathan Frederick, director of the NC Science Festival, attended the expo on Friday.

"ICC is blowing it out of the water. They are doing it big. We want to remind everyone that science is fun and to see that there are great science education and opportunities in their neighborhood," Frederick said. "This serves a lot of great purposes. I can't say enough good things about it."