The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Lincoln fair adds art to science


Kids rushed through the door, some in costumes, as they eagerly went from room to room.

No, it’s not Halloween but the second Lincoln Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Day, an interactive fair for kids and their parents to attend.

Last year, the event only focused on STEM, but the Jan. 23 event included the “A” for arts, said Theresa Ho, the parent-coordinator of the event. There were six stations, each one with a theme from a different movie.

“It’s really fun for the kids to learn the science behind movie magic,” she said. “It makes it more interesting when they see the connections between science and the movie world. It’s super cool to see kids engaged in things they normally wouldn’t be engaged in.”

Lincoln Principal Ann Langenfeld said she sees a special benefit in adding the “A” to the traditional STEM acronym.

“It revolves around aesthetics and nature and the appreciation of the beauty behind science,” she said. “It gets kids enthused about STEM. That doesn’t happen sitting in a desk.”

Getting the kids excited was one of the main goals of the day — showing that science and math can be fun as well as academically stimulating.

Nathaniel Richmond, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, ran the Frozen movie station, which focused on explaining fractals — never-ending repeating patterns that are self-similar across different scales.

“STEM is underrepresented compared to some other countries,” Richmond said. “The hope is that when they start early, they’ll be more likely to go on when they’re older. The skills are transferable to a lot of jobs.”

Cassie Elton, the center director for Sylvan Learning in Coralville, said there are definitely positives in getting kids excited about these topics.

“There’s a lot of career options in STEM, so this sets them up at a young age,” she said.

The Sylvan Learning center ran The LEGO Movie station, in which kids utilized computer coding software to make their LEGO robots move with motion sensors. The LEGO robotics station was another new addition to this year’s fair.

The elementary students weren’t the only ones having fun. Parents, required to attend with their children, learned alongside them. Many times, parents aren’t in touch with what their kids are learning at school, causing a disconnect, Ho said.

“The idea is that the parents come with the kids and they learn with them,” Ho said. “It takes ownership over their learning process.”

Langenfeld agreed with Ho and said she thinks parents getting involved are good for the kids as well.

“We want the parents to be involved in it,” She said. “It just gets the kids so excited and jazzed.”

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