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Emergent young scientists


The IGERT trainees and affiliates offer energizing experiences to young excited junior scientists through the Science Sunday program at the Austin Children’s Museum. At least six times a year, IGERT trainees and affiliates provide hands-on science activities that challenge and animate basic concepts around energy, measurement, and investigation for children ages three years old and up. During the two to four hour science Sunday events IGERT engineers demonstrate engineering concepts to the children and then, children replicate the experiments. The children are asked to make hypotheses (for younger ones, good guesses) about what will happen if…, what will happen next…, and why? Some of the science experiments teach concepts such as independent and dependent variables, measurement, and weight. The children are glued to the experiments and in some cases have to compete with their parents to do the activities. Everyone leaves the museum asking, “When will you do this kind of thing again?”

Address Goals

Cultivating a growing pool of young engineers and scientists is an continuous activitiy that the IGERT trainees and affiliates have identified as a priority. The IGERT participants have stated often in focus groups that “If it hadn’t been for my 5th grade science teacher, I wouldn’t be here today.” Or, “My high school physics teacher told me I have a talent for science, without her, I would not be an IGERT student.” It is the enthusiasm for science and engineering that becomes contagious for young poeple. Access and exposure to advanced science concepts presented at a level that young people can understand and have hands-on experiences that make programs like IGERT a reality.