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Students Enjoy Science Fair & STEM Festival

Several area students will have their science fair project displayed in a Houghton museum after participating in the 20th Annual Western UP Science Fair and STEM Festival.

The event took place yesterday afternoon on the campus of Michigan Tech, where a panel of judges awarded students Gold, Silver, and Bronze ratings.


The Annual event was created by MTU professor Joan Chadde in 1998, and continues to grow every year.

“Joan and lots of other conspirators have developed hands on activities to expose students to STEM,” said Audra Morse, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech.

More than 150 4th through 8th grade students from area elementary and middle schools participated in the judged science fair, while the lower level of the Memorial Union Building entertained kids of all ages with many hands on activities as part of the STEM Festival.

Sophomore Alex Christmas explains his display of railroad signals.  “What we’ve built here is a demonstration of railroad signaling which will tell you that you have to stop at the next signal so the engineer can make that decision and start slowing his train down and prepare to stop,” Christmas said.

Other demonstrations included an underwater robot tank, a metal melting demonstration, and ice cream samples made with a concrete aggregate.

Morse said, “It’s a good learning opportunity for the kids to learn what goes into the building materials that surround them because concrete is in roadways, it’s in buildings and bridges. All these pieces come from the world around us and so I think it helps them also learn more about their world,” said Morse.

Another display uses household trash to demonstrate the wasting of recyclable material. Copper Country Recycling Initiative member David Hall said, “We’re trying to encourage people to recycle more of their stuff. Michigan is very low in the amounts that they have recycled. We’re around 15 percent. The average state is about 35 percent.”

Winning projects from the fair will be on public display later this month at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. That display runs from April 26th until May 12th.

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