Kannapolis to host STEM events for science festival

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — When asked to name a few “can’t miss” events being hosted in Kannapolis during the upcoming North Carolina Science Festival, Becky Tolle’s response was quick.
“I think they’re all can’t-miss events,” she said. “I think it all depends on what people are interested in and what they are looking for.”
The festival, which highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), is being held at a variety of venues throughout the state starting Friday.
Although the event is in its second year, this is the first time Kannapolis has participated.
“I think it’s a natural transition for us with the (North Carolina) Research Campus and the new STEM wing at A.L. Brown (High School),” said Tolle, the recreation and special events coordinator for the city. “We’re moving toward being a scientific community and we want to show people it’s not scary, its not foreign, it’s everyday life.”
And Tolle said the “STEM in the City” events will do just that.
“It’s all about how the city uses STEM in everyday jobs and how we use those things to make the city run effectively,” she said.
The first “STEM in the City” event will feature members of the public works department discussing how the storm water system and other infrastructure are run through applying STEM knowledge.
The police department will host the second event to talk about crime scene technology, accident reconstruction and patrol car technology.
The final “STEM in the City” event will focus on the use of STEM by the fire department.
“They’ll be talking about how fire science works and how they use math, geometry and engineering to do building codes and fire capacity codes,” Tolle said.
The fourth annual Zucchini 500 will be held in conjunction with the science festival.
“We get kids to build race cars out of zucchini and we race them,” Tolle said.
Prizes will be awarded to the fastest car, most creative car and most nutritious car.
“Your car may not be the fastest, but if it’s made completely with fruits and vegetables, it may be the most nutritious,” Tolle said. “We’re showing kids they can be healthy and have fun with their food.”
Children will get another chance to learn about nutrition during the Nutribrain Sing-a-Long with Roger Day.
Day, an award-winning singer and songwriter, will teach children about how food affects brain development during the free concert.
Kindergartners from the Kannapolis City school district will get a glimpse at the world of science during a Kindergarten Science Expo.
The expo will feature a tour of the University of North Carolina’s Nutrition Research Institute at the Research Campus and include a presentation on nutrition and health as well as a variety of activity stations.
The third annual Viva Verde Earth Festival, an event to promote a better understanding of the environment, will also be held during the festival.
“Since it fits the science festival criteria and because it falls within the same timeframe as the festival, we decided to market it as a festival event,” Tolle said.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will host a STEM Open House at its building on the Research Campus. The event will feature interactive exhibits for both kids and adults.
“Almost everything we do in life has STEM applications, but not everyone realizes it,” Dr. Marcy Corjay, dean of the college’s science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies, said in a press release.
Corjay said STEM subjects are very concrete.
“Science deals with our natural and physical world. Technology has given us the iPads, smart phones and computers we use every single day. Engineering is all about building things. Mathematics ranges from financial decisions to gaming strategies, such as playing pool or engaging in games of logic,” she said.
Tolle said city officials are looking forward to kicking off the festival.
“I think the science festival itself is about communities coming together to celebrate the wonders of science,” she said. “We’re just glad we’re able to host these events as part of the science festival.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

Event schedule
• Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Viva Verde Earth Festival, North Cabarrus Park, 760 Orphanage Road, Environmental education activities, music, crafts, vendors, and more will help participants learn how to be better stewards of the earth. For more information, go to the  vivaverdeearthfest.wordpress.com/
• Monday, 7 p.m. — “Living Proof” Film, N.C. Research Campus Core Lab, 150 Research Campus Drive, “Living Proof” tells the story of Dr.Dennis Slamon, a UCLA oncologist and researcher, as he developed Herceptin, a breakthrough drug in the treatment of breast cancer. 
• April 17, 3 to 7 p.m. — State of the Studies, N.C. Research Campus Core Lab — An open house about the value of clinical studies and research with information on studies recruiting participants. There will be displays and interactive activities to explore.
• April 18, 4 to 5 p.m. — Rookie Science, Kannapolis Library, 850 Mountain St., Join us for some fun experiment using air and some things found around the house.  We will make a hover craft that actually hovers, and a balloon race car that we will race. Registration is required and sign up is limited to 20 participants.  Call the Kannapolis Library at 704-920-1180 for registration and more information.
• April 19, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — STEM in the City, Gem Theatre Special Events Room, 111 W. First St., City Public Works Department explains how we keep the “guts” of the city – our storm water system and other infrastructure – monitored and running. Pre-register by calling 704-920-4343.
• April 19, 4:30 p.m. — Go Local with Your Library Downtown, Farmers Market, 120 West Avenue, Join the Kannapolis Library at the Farmers Market for a chance to see where your local food comes from. 
• April 21, 1 to 5 p.m. — Zucchini 500 Vegetable Race, Stewart Haas Racing, 6001 Haas Way, Build your own pinewood derby-style race car made entirely out of vegetables.
• April 24, 6 to 8 p.m. — STEM in the City, Gem Theatre Special Events Room, The police department will give you a sneak peek on topics like crime scene technology, accident reconstruction, and patrol car technology. Pre-register by calling 704-920-4343.
• April 26, 6 to 8 p.m. – STEM in the City, Gem Theatre Special Events Room,  – The fire department will talk about basic fire science, calculations and consideration in public safety and how citizens can apply this at home. Pre-register by calling 704-920-4343.
• April 28, 2 p.m. – Nutribrain Sing-a-Long with Roger Day, University of North Carolina Nutrition Research Institute, 500 Laureate Way, A free concert featuring Roger Day and his new album “Why Does Gray Matter?”