By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jose L. Hernandez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
KEYPORT, Wash – More than 500 children, educators and parents from Navy Region Northwest and the surrounding area attended the 17th annual Discover “E” Day held at Naval Undersea Museum Keyport, Wash., Feb. 28.
Discover “E” Day is an event coinciding with National Engineers Week, which celebrates how engineers make a difference in our world and also serves to increase public dialogue about the need for engineers.
“E-Day is an annual event that is open to the public, It is focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming and the STEM initiative,” said Valerie Johnson, Naval Undersea Museum educator from Tacoma, Wash., “The event has many interactive activities that are very hands-on meant to engage children and parents to explore different ideas and spark an interest in engineering.”
Engineers and military reservists from surrounding bases along with volunteers conducted hands-on science and technology activities for children ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Children and parents had the opportunity to participate in nine different stations where they could test electromagnets or build robots and catapults. The purpose of the events was aimed at helping students learn practical applications of STEM.
“These exhibits and stations are great for the kids,” said Steve Loup, from Bremerton, Wash. “They seem to really enjoy the hands-on aspect and it seems to be a great tool to spark their interest in the sciences.”
The event’s capstone activity was a scavenger hunt that tied in the knowledge visitors gained from the hands-on activities and related those principles with artifacts in the museum.
“The scavenger hunt is a great opportunity for the parents and children to better understand how some of the artifacts in the exhibit like the periscopes really work,” said Bruce Riggins, Navy Undersea Museum volunteer from Poulsbo, Wash. “It’s especially great for the children because they get to interact with the nine different stations and they learn how certain things work as well as certain engineering principles. Then they get to explore the museum and see first hand the real world application in some of the artifacts in the exhibit.”
The event required coordination of more than twenty-six volunteers manning the various stations and activities available.
“The success of E-Day is possible thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers and staff,” said Johnson. “None of this would be possible without their support as well as the support of the parents, educators and children.”