On September 10, the banquet room at Marie Callender’s in Pismo Beach was full of kids and their parents building and racing cars made of Legos at the inaugural event of the 2014/2015 season of Science After Dark. In its third year, Science After Dark is a series of monthly events presented by the Central Coast STEM Collaborative (CCSTEM). STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math in the world of education.
For all the photos, visit the Science After Dark Facebook page.
Dubbed “Lego Derby,” the public was invited to put their minds to the test and design a vehicle to try out on the official pinewood derby track, complete with precision speed sensors, provided by SLO MakerSpace. There were thousands of Lego bricks and specialty pieces, along with wheel and axle subassemblies made of zinc for added weight and speed.
Some participants chose to forego the speed competition and be a bit more imaginative. Several cars had multiple stories, and some utilized green technology by growing plants on the roof! All cars were winners, and there was a drawing among the attendees for Lego-themed prizes; the grand prize being four LEGOLAND resort hopper tickets, donated by the amusement park.
Science After Dark was originally created to promote CCSTEM and to provide an opportunity for adults to learn about science from experts in a relaxed, informal setting. The majority of events this season will be held at Luis Wine Bar, an over age 21 establishment in San Luis Obispo. The program expands to Santa Maria in December with a presentation hosted by Mission Hope Cancer Center (including dinner) on the science of radiation therapy, and to Pismo Beach in February with a Valentine’s theme dinner and presentation on the science and romance of diamonds at Scotty’s Bar and Grill. The next “kid-oriented” event will be in June at the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum featuring a talk by a Cal Poly marine scientist on a year in the life of a shark. Check our website at www.ccstem.org and click on Science After Dark for a detailed schedule, or “like” us on facebook at ScienceAfterDark/SLO.
Dawn Hinchman, Coordinator of Science After Dark and CCSTEM board member, explained that CCSTEM is a regional affiliate of the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet). The statewide network was created in 2011 to advance STEM teaching and learning in local communities. All of tomorrow’s workers will need the analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that STEM subjects impart. CCSTEM is committed to enhancing and promoting STEM learning and developing career readiness in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties by fostering the collective impact of local, state, and national stakeholders. Members of CCSTEM currently serve on the leadership committee for the countywide CA Math and Science Partnership grant, the CSLNet Advisory Board, the Business and Youth Councils of the San Luis Obispo County Workforce Investment Board, and on county committees to provide professional development to teachers in the roll out of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards initiatives.
If you have an interest in science and technology and would like to learn more about the Central Coast STEM Collaborative, the group is having a reception at Steynberg Gallery on October 15 at 6:30pm to introduce prospective members to the current board and review ongoing activities. Refreshments will be provided.