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Third Annual Science Fest at IU kicks off Saturday

BLOOMINGTON Ind. (WISH) – The third annual Science Fest at Indiana University kicks off  Saturday and organizers expect thousands to show up. Visitors will get to control a race car with their minds, brewing up chemical “potions” at Hogwarts, and even learn how to survive an earthquake.

Saturday is the third year for IU”s Science Fest and it keeps growing. It’s a day full of fun and kids might learn something along the way.

Alyssa Gilliland is a 9th grader and a girl scout. She said she’s more comfortable with protective goggles on than some of her peers.

“So I feel like since we are a screen generation a lot of things are getting transferred from being interactive in real life to the screens,” said Gilliland. “It’s not just like you’re sitting down watching them they make sure all the demos are really interactive.”

Kate Reck is the director of undergrad studies for Chemistry.

“Ideally if kids come they get excited about science then ideally they take science courses in high school then they come to college and at least have the idea they could peruse science if that’s something they’re interested in,” said Reck.

She’s hoping some of the 1,800 visitors last year will come back with a continued passion for learning.

“What we find is a lot of students, whether they are male or female, shut down to science in 7th and 8th grade and if we can excite and spark their interest and keep them interested throughout high school, they have a higher chance of getting them to actually study sciences in college,” said Reck.

For Alyssa Saturday is just simply a good time.

“I like science so much because it’s just very fun you get to experiment and the thing about science fest is if you really enjoy one room you can stay in there for as long as you want,” said Gilliland.

Every year the departments participating in this event do what’s called a Science slam. An audience hears Ted Talk style speeches from four different speakers from astronomy, math, chemistry and biology. Then the winner is selected with a decibel meter, and one of the subjects is shown how to slow down time.