NNU hosts 2011 “Science Extravaganza”

January 20, 2011, 4:09 pm

Northwest Nazarene University will welcome more than 1,300 Treasure Valley students to campus next week who are eager to learn more about science. The annual Science Extravaganza has been sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory and hosted by NNU for over a decade, and this year it will be held Jan. 24-26, and 28.

Among a host of science activities, area schoolchildren will fire off catapults, make models of human skin, and see and touch live animals. These unique learning experiences allow students to learn about important science concepts while connecting with local scientists and NNU science students. In a time when funds are limited, teachers have a great opportunity to expose their students to exciting hands-on activities.

“We always look forward to hosting this event,” says Dr. John Cossel, Jr., NNU biology professor. “Visiting school children are excited by the engaging activities and look up to our students as science role models.  The Science Extravaganza allows us to showcase some of our students’ research, such as the work we are doing with endangered species of frogs from Costa Rica.  Related to this, a highlight of the “Creepy-Crawlies” presentation is our state-of-the-art rainforest exhibit.  Visiting children will get a glimpse of the beauty of a rainforest ecosystem right here in Idaho.”

In addition, INL’s Don Miley will be hosting a science show entitled “Understanding the Atom.” In this interactive session, students will explore the physics of nuclear energy by participating in a chain-reaction demonstration to learn how nuclear power is generated. They will enjoy this fun- and fact-filled presentation on Tue., Wed. or Fri.

Melinda Hamilton, INL’s director of education programs, states, “INL appreciates our long-running partnership with NNU to provide this interactive, inquiry-based experience for Idaho students.  Increasing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction helps encourage young people to pursue careers as the scientists, engineers and innovators we need to meet the challenges of the future.”

Although the Science Extravaganza is sponsored by INL and hosted by NNU, the event requires the collaborative efforts of local partners such as Micron, Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge, Boise Watershed, Peregrine Fund, NASA, NOAA, Mountain View High School physics students and their teacher Chris Stoker, and others. Dr. Cossel adds, “We all work together to present activities designed to excite students about learning through exploration and discovery.”

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