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Second Annual STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair

The second annual STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair returned to Carousel Park for the opening Day of the Minnesota State Fair on August 25, 2011. This year, STEM day was visited by hundreds of fairgoers, including MN Senator Al Franken.

The purpose of this day was ultimately to reach out to fairgoers by illustrating how STEM is an integral part of everyone's lives. Participants also provided information about future employment trends and educational opportunities in STEM fields. STEM banners, booths, and displays filled Carousel Park, while performers and speakers engaged an audience on the main stage throughout the day. Hundreds of students, parents, teachers, and other patrons passed through the area, taking part in activities and watching demonstrations.

This year, the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota had a booth alongside other STEM organizations and supporters, including: 3M Visiting Wizards, The Bakken Museum, Bell Museum of Natural History, Cedar Park STEM Elementary, Eagan FIRST Robotics, ExploraDomeMN, First Tech Challenge First Robotics, Future City, Imation, Independent Learning LLP, KidWind, Laura Jeffrey Academy, Midway Technology Systems, Microsoft, Minnesota 4-H, Minnesota Space Grant Consortium, Minnesota High Tech Association, the National Center for STEM Elementary Education at St. Catherine University, the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, Science Museum of Minnesota, SciGirls at Twin Cities Public Television, STARBASE Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, South Central College, and The Works.

Each organization had an area to represent their group and their connection to STEM Education through activities and displays that aimed to attract and interact with fair-goers. The STEM Education Center's booth had hands-on activities for children and their parents to participate in. The goal of these fun and educational activities was to show children and their parents how STEM education can be fun, cost-effective, and is easy to do with materials commonly found around the house. The activities included: playing with Play-Dough, making a batch of Ooblek, a sink-or-float game, making a toothpick tower to hold Goldy Gopher, and a coloring sheet in which kids could draw themselves working in a STEM Career.

Fair-goers enjoyed the STEM activities at the STEM Education Center's booth, as did the employees, students, and volunteers who helped during the day! Overall, STEM Day at the Fair was a successful way to engage the community in STEM education and to represent the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota.

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