by Caitlin Race
The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor was one of the many homes to the Maine Science Festival this weekend. Throughout downtown Bangor, activities, films, presentations, and demonstrations were held. There was even a trolley that traveled through town. There was no cost to attend with the festival containing over seventy events and activities. Children of all ages attended and there was something for everyone who attended. Any interest a child may have, it was covered at the science festival. According to a staff member, hundreds of people had shown up on Saturday alone.
Businesses from across the state gathered to put up a booth for kids to learn, and to advertise their own business, such as the Challenger Learning Center of Maine. Kirsten Hibbard was in charge of the booth. This booth contained a maze made out of blocks and bees that needed programming to move.
“So we have these really cute bee bots and it’s really beginning computer programming. So somebody, even as young as three, can start to learn kind of ‘How do I put in directions? How do I make this bee do what I want?’ So we set up a big maze, so it’s a really fun event.”
For five days, the festival held several events. The first day consisted of fish exhibits and trivia night while the second had theatre presentations and science on tap. The third day contained tech night and astronomy presentations. The fourth day was the busiest of them all ranging from events such as soda making to solar energy to the science of voice. The last day of the event showed things such as scavenger hunts and student films. There were so many events that would keep anyone busy.
An event that ran every day of the festival was the River Run Fish Exhibit. It focused on diadromous fish that spend part of their life in salt water and the other part in freshwater. The presentation focused on the importance of treating the several species of the fish as a group to manage and restore their population. It was for audiences of all ages.
Students were able to become involved with the festival in their own way by participating in the Maine Invention Convention. Middle schoolers from across Maine were able to work with fellow students and teachers to find solutions to problems by using the Innovation Engineering process. Students competed for top invention awards. Projects ranged from scuba diving gear to cell phones.
The festival was sponsored by Maine Public, the University of Maine, Maine Technology Institute, AARP, Emera Maine, IDEXX, Maine’s Community Colleges, and Maine’s Public Universities.
This was the fifth year for the Maine Science festival, and businesses like the Challenger Learning Center have been a part of the fun since the beginning. The festival ended on Sunday and had a whole schedule of events at mainesciencefestival.org.
Next year, the festival will run again. The events and activities? It’s currently unknown, but a list will be released closer to the festival.