Four-year-old Karlie Jackson held a small device that looked a bit like a glue gun to her skin, and saw an up-close image of its surface on a television monitor.
She and Kamryn Johnson, 2, were there with Kamryn’s mother, Wendy, and Scotlandville Middle student Koby Thompkins to see exhibits at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum’s Engineering Day on March 21.
The girls took turns finding new object to see up-close — strands of their hair, strands of other people’s hair, including Brookelyn and Cassidy Corcoran, students from Zachary’s Northwest Middle School.
“I love it, and they’ve been having a blast,” Wendy Johnson said, adding that, aside from the microscope, which was a big hit, the booth with the catapult cars was a popular stop for her group.
Gina Guillory, who studies chemical engineering at LSU, manned the booth with the microscope and several other science projects as a diversity ambassador for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“The microscope is a really good outreach tool. It’s a fun and cool way to introduce kids to science,” Guillory said.
Fun and creative problem solving was the order of the day at Engineering Day, presented by the Albemarle Foundation, where visitors of all ages could participate in interactive demonstrations like the microscope, and booths where people could build a tiny car made with beads, coffee stirrers, balloons and poster board, and propelled by air.
“With a mission centered on education, our goal is to invest in events such as these that light the fire in the hearts and minds of our community’s youth,” said Sandra Holub, executive director of The Albemarle Foundation, in a news release. “We are excited to help provide the opportunity for this year’s attendees to be inspired by the mystery and dynamics of science.”
The festival is part of the museum’s ongoing effort to help participants make and understand connections between art and science, particularly when it comes to the exploration of engineering and design.
“Design thinking in children is natural due to their curious nature and not being afraid to try new things,” said Carol Gikas, executive director of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum.
“The interactive demonstrations on Engineering Day help foster design thinking and learning while integrating the imagination with analytical thought processes to creatively solve problems. Families learn how artists, scientists, and engineers all use design thinking,” she said.
“Baton Rouge and the Art and Science Museum are fortunate to have The Albemarle Foundation and our engineering friends from across the community come together again to help provide this enlightening day at the Art & Science Museum,” added Gikas.
Participating exhibitors also include industry representatives, professional engineering societies and organizations, and the Society of Peer Mentors at LSU. It is additionally supported by BASF and ExxonMobil.
For more information about the museum, visit its website, www.lasm.org.