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Drake University to host STEM festival in conjunction with Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture

October 28, 2013

On Oct. 29, Drake University will host the iExplore Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Festival from 4:30–6 p.m. in Parents Hall of Olmsted Center. Neil deGrasse Tyson, world-renowned astrophysicist and 31st Bucksbaum lecturer, will be present to interact with participants at the festival.

iExplore is a free, hands-on program for middle school students and their families. Approximately 100 students from the Des Moines Public Schools’ Science Bound program and other programs in Iowa are expected to attend the event, where they will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of science-related activities. Drake students as well as students from University of Northern Iowa and Central College will lead the activities.

“This festival is going to be an opportunity for students, particularly those from populations underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math careers, to engage with the STEM community,“ says Sarah Derry, STEM regional manager at Drake University.

More than 15 different activities can be explored at the festival, including:

STEM Behind Hollywood, Zombie Apocalypse presented by Patsy Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Drake University. This activity introduces the concept of a disease spreading through a human population using technology and fictional zombies.

Bubble-ology presented by Wendy Weber, professor of mathematics at Central College in Pella. In this activity, presenters will demonstrate how to create soap film bubbles by dipping models into a soap solution. Participants will be asked to predict what kind of bubble will occur when different models are used.

Listen to Your Muscles presented by Drake students studying exercise science and sports medicine. This activity will allow participants the opportunity to listen to their muscles by using sensors placed against their biceps. Muscle electrical activity is represented by a simple line on a computer screen that either increases or decreases in height based on activity.

A parent permission form is required for all participants under the age of 18. For more information, contact Sarah Derry at sarah.derry@drake.edu or 515-271-2403.