Westside children celebrate STEM Day

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
Brothers Jeremiah and Nicholas Criner may not have been aware that Nov. 8 was designated as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Day, but they did know that COSI was going to be in their area and that they had to be there. For several hours in the afternoon on that day, representatives with the Center of Science and Industry and the healthcare technology company CoverMyMeds were on hand at Avondale Elementary to provide children with take-home activity kits to stimulate their brains and demonstrate how the natural world works using liquid nitrogen. Here, the siblings who live on the westside play “in the cloud” as they learn about what happens when boiling water mixes with cold liquid nitrogen. Cold, said COSI program manager Alex Wilkins, is a bit of a misnomer. “It’s -321 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Vivian Christian, 3, proudly displays the Learning Lunchbox she and her brother took home. The take-home activity kit contains materials and supplies for five activities centered around understanding the human body and steps they can take to make healthy choices. Approximately 300 kits were given away at the event on Nov. 8. They were provided at no cost to the community through a partnership with CoverMyMeds.
Volunteers pass out the kits during the drive-up portion of the event.
Alex Wilkins demonstrates how gas expands with “Genie in a bottle.” Wilkins, who has been the program manager at COSI for three years, said these neighborhood pop up events have been a “wonderful opportunity” to provide students with up-close demonstrations about the STEM field, especially as the center has been closed to slow the spread of a novel coronavirus. COSI intends to open its doors for members and the general public on Nov. 20. It will be open three days a week, Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Dec. 20. At that time, open hours will be re-evaluated and announced. For more information on safety guidelines, visit www.cosi.org.

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