NNU will again host the annual Science Extravaganza for area middle school students Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 at the Thomas Family Health & Science Center. More than 1,000 students come to our campus and learn from selected undergraduate students who provide them with a fun, hands-on experience. The Idaho National Laboratories sponsors the event that has been held at NNU for more than a decade.
Dr. John Cossel, professor of biology and leading herpetologist, looks forward to this time of year because, “it allows middle-school-age students to experience science at a different level and exposes them to the thought of higher education as well as potential career opportunities in the science field.”
One of the favorite sessions is “Creepy Crawlies,” which focuses on reptiles and amphibians from our tropical rainforest vivarium. NNU college students love sharing about the research they are conducting with endangered species of amphibians and letting the middle-school students see living examples of these exotic species. A highlight of this session is not only to see the University’s live resident American alligator named “Al,” but actually to touch him and observe first-hand the many adaptations alligators have for living in aquatic environments.
In addition to the “Creepy Crawlies,” this year students and teachers will also spend three days learning about photosynthesis, osmosis and robotics. The physics club from Mountain View High School, Meridian, will display their hovercraft project, and Micron will guide students through explorations involving the physics of catapults.