By Annelise Rosmaita

kids-tech-2016-02-27On Saturday February 27, I went to Kids Tech University. It is an event at Virgina Tech that features interactive hands on activities and even some college type lectures for kids to get us interested in Science, Technlology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Rackspace is a corporate sponsor for the event.

The lecture was on cell life and cancer presented by Dr. Carla Finkielstein from the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences. It was very interesting. She showed videos of how cells duplicate and how cancer happens by cells duplicating uncontrollably. After the lecture, we got a Scientific Method and Kids’ Tech University packet on cell life, and an Aha-Album. Whenever you have a scientific, mathematics, engineering or technology aha! moment, you can jot it down in the album.

After the lecture, we had a short lunch break, and then got to go to the hands on activities. Some of the activities included Rackspace showing kids how to program a penguin to walk. (That activity was so crowded that I didn’t get a chance to do it, but there was a great handout telling me how to get the software.)

Another activity I enjoyed was directed by some students who had gone to Antarctica. They had a tub of ice water, and first you would stick your hand in a plastic bag and stick it in the ice water. That is how it would feel if you were a human in Antarctica. Then they had you stick your hand in a bag that was full of feathers. Then you dipped your hand in the ice water. That is what it would feel like to be a polar animal, like a penguin for example. My hand in the bag of feathers felt much warmer when I dipped it into the ice water.

Another cool station at the hands on events was the DNA sampling. You would drink white gatorade, swish it around in your mouth for a minute, and spit it back into the cauldron. Then you added some other stuff including rubbing alcohol and shook the cauldron 5 to 8 times. This would make your DNA show up against the gatorade, alcohol, and saliva. It looked like a bunch of spiderwebs.

Kids Tech University is a fun way to learn about STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The next event is “Technology Day” in March and I can’t wait to go!

Annelise Rosmaita is a fifth grader at Kipps Elementary School in Blacksburg. She is also a part time DJ for “Radio Ethiopia”, broadcast Wednesdays on K-RACK.

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