Michigan Tech Brings Hands-on Learning to Wisconsin Youth

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Young students have a hair-raising good time at the Einstein Science Expo
Young students have a hair-raising good time at the Einstein Science Expo

It was a hair-raising good time when thousands of Wisconsin youth showed up for the annual Einstein Project Science Expo in Green Bay on March 13. Armed with liquid nitrogen and supersized bubbles, staff from Michigan Tech’s Youth Programs were there to help kids learn about science and technology—in a sneaky--and effective--way.

“We’ve got cool, hands-on experiments, so kids learn without even realizing it,” says Kristi Isaacson, associate coordinator of youth programs. “They stop by to taste liquid-nitrogen ice cream, but it’s not long before they’re asking questions about the process, like what temperature different items freeze at.”

Youth at the event also got to make (and pop) extra-large bubbles and ride on a hovercraft made from plywood and leaf blowers.

“It’s about making science accessible for everyone,” Isaacson says. “I think it’s exciting for people to know they can recreate most of our experiments at home, using items from the garage or the grocery store.”

Also featured at the Youth Programs booth were items on loan from Michigan Tech’s physics department, including a Van de Graaff generator—an electrostatic-generating globe that provides a truly hair-raising experience.

“The kids had a lot of fun touching the globe and having their hair stand on end,” Kristi says. “It’s a great thing when a student can see and experience science rather than just hearing about it.”

The Science Expo is sponsored each year by the Einstein Project, a nonprofit Wisconsin organization that provides hands-on STEM learning opportunities to students. Though it’s geared to kindergarten through eighth grade, kids (and adults) of all ages stopped in to learn about the science behind everyday activities and careers.

“We had everyone from babies and young children up to high school students, plus parents and teachers,” Isaacson says. “No matter how old you are, it’s great when you can find new ways to make learning fun.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.