The University of Minnesota’s Math & Science Family Fun Fair is taking a break for 2017. The event will be back in 2018 in partnership with the new Bell Museum of Natural History.
Are you full “STEM” ahead to get your kids excited about math and science? The University of Minnesota makes is super fun to do so at its annual Family Fun Fair, a showcase of the departments offered within the College of Science & Engineering.
Coffman Union hosts staggering number of exhibits designed to let your children’s inner scientist come out to play. That’s my 3-year-old at left building sodium chloride molecules out of marshmallows and toothpicks. Science she can snack on? Score! My 7-year-old son was crazy about the robots. Had he been allowed to play with them by remote control we probably wouldnt’ve seen him for the rest of the afternoon. Even the toddler found her calling at the School of Dentistry booth – industriously brushing the teeth of their mascot.
Nearly every department offers hands-on activities for kids. Mine spent hours fitting together gears and deflecting light through prisms. They learned about surgical implants via a giant game of Operation. They built take-home bouncy balls out of polymers.
Well-known UMN traveling science shows “Physics Force” and “Energy and U” perform. Try out the Bell Museum’s ExploraDome for free! Fun activities for kids introduce them to such fields as (deep breath) astronomy, chemistry, neuroscience, rocketry, electrical engineering, geology, genetics and a host of other STEM vocations I hope might spark some interest in my daughters. (Just because I was allergic even to the words “math” and “science” as a kid doesn’t mean I want to pass it on to my own.) Not by a long shot was this an exhaustive list of the booths available – astronomy, supercomputing, rocketry, neuroscience, microscopy, wind energy and kinetics will have to wait until next year.
A few tips: The Math & Science Family Fun Fair is an event best tackled by a team of at least two caregivers (in my case, anyway. I’ve got a spirited bunch of four young ones.) Exhibits are spread throughout several floors and spaces within Coffman Union. If you’re unfamiliar with the building it’s almost impossible to navigate the exhibits without a map. Be sure to pick one up at the registration table. That’s also the spot to secure free (but required) tickets to the “Physics” and “Energy” shows. Also, be prepared for a crowd. Not an overwhelming one, but certainly a healthy number of families excited about math and science.
University of Minnesota
Coffman Memorial Union
300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis
$8 & up event parking in the East River Parkway Garage. There is also a limited amount of street and metered parking around the Minneapolis campus.