WVU looks to encourage STEM education with State Fair booth

FAIRLEA, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Extension Service is using the State Fair of West Virginia to provide young people opportunities to engage in science and math exercises and get them interested in engineering and science.

The extension service, in a partnership with Mylan, will run the booth through the end of the fair on Saturday.

The booth includes a vertical wind tunnel to observe how objects work in such environment, as well as marshmallow catapult kits students can take home and a sneak peek at this year’s National Youth Science Day coding kit.

Suzanne McDonald, a STEM outreach specialist with the university, said the fair provides a great opportunity for kids to engage in new things. She added from the university’s standpoint, they hope to make the young visitors’ time at the booth fun but also informative.

“One of the things we’re trying to instill is called growth mindsets,” she explained. “Growth mindsets is the idea that failure isn’t a reason to quit; it’s actually a challenge. You take that failure and you learn from that experience, and you alter your design and you try it again.”

McDonald also said the most rewarding thing is seeing kids succeed in their tasks.

“They just love engineering design challenges, and they will alter and retest as many as time as you let them,” she added. “I’m always amazed by how creative they are.”

Kids can do as many wind tunnel tests as they want.

The fair continues through this Saturday, when a fireworks display will bring the annual event to a close. The fair has multiple performers scheduled before the fair ends, including Lorrie Morgan on Wednesday, Cole Swindell with Hardy on Thursday, Alabama on Friday and Jeff Foxworthy on Saturday.

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