When most of us think of heading to the fair we think deep fried foods, farm animals and riding the ferris wheel. However, KBOI-TV and the STEM Action Center have kicked up this experience to a new level at the Western Idaho Fair by hosting a fun and exciting STEM Day during the event’s opening day. KBOI-TV has sponsored opening day at the fair for several years and last year as part of their partnership with the STEM Action Center they decided to dedicate some extra space to the STEM Action Center. STEM Day was held on Friday, August 18th and fair attendees young and old were able to interact with a myriad of fun STEM activities for free with their admission ticket. It was a huge hit!

The IVRC was excited to be one of over fifteen different organizations who participated this year and with an increased number of vendors the event took up double the space that was used last year. They had to bring in three tents to house all the participating vendors! Attendees were able to interact with STEM activities from a wide range of organizations including STEM Bus USA, Meridian Library District’s Unbound Branch, the Reuseum, the Discovery Center of Idaho, several robotics clubs and multiple others that I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to see! Participants didn’t walk away empty handed from this fun event either. STEM Action Center handed out 5,000 eclipse glasses as well as 3,500 STEM Action center backpacks. There was also a scavenger hunt where participants had to answer 10 STEM related questions posted throughout the area. Prizes included a drone package donated by Stemfinity, a brick lab donated by PCS Edventures, a VR headset donated by the IVRC and a STEM Action Center package.

The IVRC also had the chance to be a part of KBOI’s Idaho Living 11 AM live broadcast. Myself (Annie) and IVRC Chairman Ryan DeLuca were interviewed by Ammie while co-host Katie tried out Fruit Ninja VR for the first time. We had a blast discussing VR and the IVRC.  Check out the segment HERE!

We can’t wait to participate in STEM Day at the fair next year. A huge thank you to KBOI and STEM Action Center for putting this event on. What a great opportunity for the community to participate in STEM activities while having a ton of fun at the fair! We also could not have done this event without our amazing IVRC volunteers; VR1 Arcade’s Brendan and Andrew, A.D., Henry, and Scarlett!

More about STEM Action Center:
Mission Statement:
Connecting STEM education and industry to ensure Idaho’s long-term economic prosperity.

Vision Statement:
Produce a STEM competitive workforce by implementing Idaho’s Kindergarten through Career STEM education programs aligned with industry needs.

During the 2015 Idaho legislative session, a small group of visionary legislators, education leaders and industry stakeholders began a STEM Caucus that led to legislation creating the Idaho STEM Action Center. House Bill 302 became law on July 1, 2015 (Idaho Code §67-823). This new law permits some flexibility in implementation which will allow the Center to develop unique grant, training, professional development and student opportunities aligned to Idaho’s workforce needs from kindergarten through career. Decisions related to the STEM Action Center are guided by a nine member Board appointed by the Governor. The Board is a unique blend of educational leaders from the State Board of Education and the State Department and seven Idaho industry leaders including the Idaho Department of Labor, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Micron.

The Idaho STEM Action Center’s enabling legislation focuses on five broad areas:
Student learning and achievement (including underrepresented populations)
Student access to STEM including equity issues
Teacher professional development and opportunities
College and career STEM pathways
Industry and workforce needs

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