Marbles Kids Museum and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction are teaming up for a Family Science Fair.
Registration for the fair opened Thursday. The actual fair is April 6. It's for preschoolers to fifth graders and their families.
This is a first for Marbles, which has participated in the N.C. Science Festival for the past three years. This latest collaboration began back in October when the state public instruction department offered a workshop for teachers about science, technology, engineering and math topics (commonly called STEM) at Marbles, Hardin Engelhardt, Marbles' exhibit and program developer, tells me.
The folks at Marbles and the state agency started talking about more ways the two could work together. State officials are working with Marbles on the fair, providing resources for families and offering hands-on activities and demonstrations at the fair on April 6.
"We know that kids are natural scientists and that if we foster an interest in science at an early age, kids are more likely to stay interested in science, to see themselves as scientists, and to develop STEM skills and content knowledge that will open up STEM career pathways for them in the future," Engelhardt tells me.
Engelhardt said she hopes families use the fair as a chance to play together with science at home. It's non-competitive. The focus is on the fun of finding out.
"Follow your child’s lead—what are they into? What are they curious about? Find a question that they’d like to know the answer to and investigate," Engelhardt tells me. "Then use your creativity to work together to share what you learned."
The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 6. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day, Marbles also will be hosting Nano Days where families can learn more about nanoscience and technology with scientists from Duke, N.C. State and Triangle MRSEC.
Pre-registration is required for the fair. Check Marbles' website for details about how to participate and other resources. The fair is free with admission. Registered participants in the fair and their families will get free admission.