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‘Next Big Idea Festival’ Exposes Youth to Science, Tech & Engineering Fields

on August 8, 2013 - 10:22am

A useful robot showed its stuff during last year's Next Big Idea event. Courtesy photo

COUNTY News:

For the 5th year, Los Alamos will spotlight the community’s unique and creative heritage with the “Next Big Idea Festival: A Festival of Discovery, Invention and Innovation.”

The free, family friendly event is 11 a.m to 3 p.m., Sept. 14 in downtown Los Alamos. It's designed to inspire and educate through science, technology, and arts. Likewise, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Student Day, Friday, Sept. 13, may stimulate interest among young people about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math with interactive programs.

“What differentiates Los Alamos from other communities is that it is a place of big, world-changing ideas,” says Suzette Fox, MainStreet Executive Director. “This weekend is designed to educate, illuminate, inspire, and entertain by celebrating discoveries, inventions and innovations in science, technology and the arts.”

The festival features a lineup of fascinating interactive exhibits from exhibitors such as Los Alamos National Laboratory; Beaver Toyota; Kraz-E-Science; Albuquerque Astronomical Society and, on display for the second year in a row, a “Recycle Fashion Show” at noon that features clothing made by youth from recycled products.

Along with a Robotic Frisbee competition, there will be great food at the event. Live music will be provided by both the Surf Lords and Higher Ground, who will play
1-6 p.m. at the beer and wine garden.

A Kid’s Activity Area at the festival will feature hands-on science exhibits, a pet area with micro-chipping available and a “kissing booth,” Beaver Toyota automobile section, electric cars, and many more fascinating demonstrations designed to spark an interest in young people about science, math, technology and engineering.
 
New this year at the festival, everyone is invited to participate in a scavenger hunt where they will have a chance to win an IPad mini. Please register at the information booth.

Also, guided tours of the Smart House across from Fuller Lawn
will be offered at no charge every hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Smart House is a project that partners the Department of Utilities, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is a demonstration smart home that is equipped with photovoltaics, a battery, a home energy management system, and smart equipment and appliances for optimized power consumption.

Sept. 13, STEM Student Day will showcase three imaginative programs that students, grades seven through 11, will participate in including: “Show Me your Muscle,” “How Cell Phones Work,” and “R2D2 and His Band of Robotic Telescopes.” Students who participate will have a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

STEM Student Day is 4-6:30 p.m. and immediately following the STEM event, a local teen band will perform at 7 p.m. in downtown Los Alamos. To register for STEM Day, visit http://nextbigideala.com/stem-student-day.

For more information on the Next Big Idea Festival or STEM Day, visit nextbigideala.com or contact Suzette Fox at suzette(at)losalamos(dot)org or 505-661-4844.


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