Maryland STEM Festival engages with youth

Maryland STEM Festival engages with youth

Stevenson University will host a Chemistry Magic Show and Mathstravaganza under the sponsorship of the Maryland STEM Festival on Friday, Oct. 25, in the Manning Academic Center.

Stevenson’s participation in the Maryland STEM Festival will include some chemistry magic and a few mathematical puzzles. (Photo by Jaquan Robinson)

STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The chemistry show is the first event of the Festival, held from 2- 3 p.m. in room S136 in the Manning Academic Center. This will be the 14th annual Chemistry Magic Show held at Stevenson, but it is the fourth year that it will be a part of the Maryland STEM festival.

These events are targeted for middle school students to give them a viewpoint through which they can understand mathematics problems and chemistry experiments. Last year several schools brought buses of students to the festival. Although younger students are targeted, the event is open to all ages and members of the community.

In addition, according to Dr. Will Harrell, assistant professor of chemistry and the American Chemical Society (ACS) Club faculty advisor, said that the magic show is run by students in the ACS club, as are the chemical demonstrations that will take place during the magic show.

Harrell believes the show began when a group of professors from neighboring universities started out by performing entertaining chemistry experiments, which eventually led to the involvement and management of ACS. He added that the experiments are more visually fun, like setting things on fire, or changing the color of the fire and more.

Although it is considered a magic show, the professors and students involved make sure to educate the students on the chemistry that underlies the demonstrations.

Moreover, according to Dr. Ben Wilson, assistant professor of mathematics and supervisor of the Mathstravaganza, said that his section of the event is related to different mathematical concepts demonstrated in an entertaining and approachable way. By explaining famous mathematics problems with candy and games to get younger students involved, everyone has fun while learning. This event includes hands-on learning that is first demonstrated by the faculty and then students are given time to grasp the concept themselves.

Stevenson mathematics majors, with help from education majors, will staff Mathstavaganza. Wilson said that the event will give younger students a chance to see math problems outside of the classroom as they try to solve each one. The Maryland STEM Festival is created to show students that mathematics and science can be taught to students in an entertaining way.