The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is waiting on science, but science at Stanislaus State isn’t slowing down.
Science in Our Community programming, including Science Saturday, Junior Scientists and Science Ambassadors, has continued to operate in the virtual world we now inhabit, as will Science Day 2021, scheduled for March 6.
Instead of 2,500 or so people streaming through the Science I Building, Naraghi Hall of Science and the Trans-California Pathway, the 10th annual Science Day will be streamed online with live and recorded video links.
“Our goal is to get science into the community, to get K-12 kids excited about science,” said Science Day founder Mark Grobner, professor of biological sciences. “We just have to look at a different way of doing it.”
Work already has begun to create videos demonstrating the types of hands-on projects that are the hallmark of Science Day.
Stan State science students — many of whom hope to become science teachers — have been keeping the mission of introducing science to children alive despite stay-at-home orders.
They’ve created videos of interesting and fun activities — one carved a jack-o-lantern that spewed foam, the resulting chemical reaction of combining vinegar, baking soda and detergent — and they continue to provide lessons for students at Cunningham and Wakefield elementary schools in Turlock.
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The young students have tuned in for lessons by Stan State students and learned how to plant potatoes and make their own slime with each demonstration followed by a quick lesson on the science behind those activities. They also have been given opportunities to ask questions of University students.
“Our students were excited and came up with cool activities,” Grobner said. “Most of them are excited about the fact we’re doing this for kids. They wished they’d had an opportunity like this when they were kids, but they didn’t, so they want to give something to kids.”
Students and faculty alike will have opportunities to give something to Science Day. It may be three months away, but Grobner already is enlisting the help of others to create a video or sign up for a livestreamed activity.
It is the participation of faculty, students and staff of the College of Science, as well as help from other campus departments, including the Office of Student Learning, that have made Science Day the biggest event on campus evert year, next to graduation. Individuals have donated countless hours of their time to the event, and this year, are being asked to create something virtually.
The technological challenges of creating a virtual Science Day are the least of Grobner’s concerns.
“We’ll have the Science Day web page up with links to each science discipline, and there will be videos for each discipline,” Grobner said.
Some of the videos will be taped. Others will feature faculty or students conducting live experiments. All livestreamed activities will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 30-minute intervals.
Grobner said he hopes the shorter time commitment will encourage his colleagues to hop on board with the virtual Science Day.
Grobner is committed to the success of the event he created and is soliciting the participation of colleagues and students to keep it going despite the pandemic.
Because, what better time than now to demonstrate the importance of science?