Science Games and Learning at the AAAS Family Science Days

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Najwa and I headed out to the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Woodley Park where American Association for the Advancement of Science was having their annual meeting. And during these meetings, they have a Family Science Day, just the type of stuff we like to do.

AAAS Family Science Days is a free public event that offers an array of hands-on family and child-friendly activities. It will be held during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle. Family Science Days features interactive booths appropriate for K-12 youths and their families, highlighting diverse areas of science, as well as a live stage show and the opportunity to talk with scientists.

Najwa has done so many projects where you mix baking soda and an acidic liquid such as vinegar or citric acid to produce carbon dioxide to inflate a balloon. But she never tires of doing it again and again.

Another exhibit had her create a seed ball. She packed a bunch of wildflower seeds into soil, clumped it into a ball, and we’re going to plant it around the house somewhere and wait for it to bloom this spring.

I wasn’t sure what exactly we were supposed to do here, but Najwa crushed a bunch of strawberries and, well, I think it had something to do with chromosomes. That’s what happens when I’m too focus on taking pictures and not stepping on other people’s kids and not paying attention. All I know is she couldn’t wait to get home to view the liquid with the microscope at home; I’m going to have to get some petri dishes.

Another exhibit was about mosquitoes. How they carry diseases and how the DC Department of Forensic Sciences tracks outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. Didn’t even know there were some positive cases in the District.

We spent a lot of time at the exhibit about superconductors and nitroglycerin. Specifically how scientists are looking for ways to recreate the effect that leads to the mag lev trains without needing to use nitroglycerin to get the right temperature for the magnets to do that thing they do. Hard to explain, but they had some really cool demonstrations.

Najwa played these brain games and got a brainfacts.com sticker. And since it was about the brain, she stuck it on her forehead. Sometimes I have to wonder how her brain works.

And there was an exhibit where kids can dig around the dirt for artifacts and learn more about some artifacts found in the DC area. We met Dr. Alexandra Jones who told us about her Archaeology Club. It’s a free 6-week program at Edgewood Arts Center near Najwa’s school. And it’s on Sundays. We’re in.

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