Dordt College News

More than 140 Middle School Students attend STEM Fest 2014

February 28, 2014

What does a “STEM-u-lating” day at Dordt College look like? Gather more than 140 students ages 9 to 14 from across the northwest Iowa region participating in fun-filled, mind-blowing, STEM-u-lating activities (that’s science, technology, engineering, and math), add in STEM faculty and students from Dordt College and ISU Extension and Outreach staff, offer many STEM activities to choose from, and you get STEM Fest 2014!

Why STEM Fest? The 2011 Governor of Iowa’s STEM initiative was formed to bolster STEM education and innovation and better position Iowa's young people and the state's economy for the future. Dordt College and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach 4H and Youth Programs held STEM Fest in response to this initiative on Saturday, February 22. This was the third year for the STEM Fest partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach at Dordt College.

ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H clubs have always been centered on science, technology, engineering, and math. “4-H offers out-of-school learning that gets kids excited about STEM. We can offer activities that are a little messier and sometimes a lot more chaotic than you can in a classroom. If we can make it fun for them outside of the classroom, hopefully they will be more confident and excited learners in the classroom,” states Cindy Cleveringa, Sioux County youth coordinator for ISU Extension and Outreach.

“STEM Fest is a truly unique opportunity for kids to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through fun and engaging hands-on activities,” commented Lynda Kroeze, ISU Extension and Outreach assistant youth program coordinator. “In the meantime, they are gaining valuable life skills that will serve them well in the future, whether that is high school, college, a career, a family, or otherwise—they are practicing teamwork, gaining critical thinking skills and exploring creative solutions to problems.”

Nathan Sexe, ISU Extension and Outreach STEM intern observed, “It was really exciting to watch students participate in hands-on activities at Dordt STEM fest. The best part was seeing students who didn't know each other work together to learn about a variety of STEM topics." 

STEM Fest is a day your middle school child should not miss. Here’s what Patricia McHenry, one mom had to say, “And the Gold Medal winner for ‘The Best Way to Spend a Saturday’ goes to STEM coordinators and crew! Thank you to all for the event. Maggie loved the day with a bonus above the learning being two new friendships made.”

At the end of the day, students created trophies made of LEGOs®. Nolan Vande Griend, a Rock Valley 9th grader, talked about his team’s LEGO® trophy: “Our trophy was made by everyone. We put a “T” on the top of our trophy, and its all different colors, because our whole team made it, and we all used our different abilities today. We had an awesome time here.”

Participants also had the opportunity to watch presentations from area FIRST® LEGO® League teams, and FIRST® Tech® teams,

For more on the Governor’s Executive Order 74 and the STEM Advisory Council, visit For this and more extension resources in your area, visit Find Northwest Iowa county offices on Facebook.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach puts the university’s research and resources to work throughout the state. Extension and Outreach is about people and education is our mission. We’re focused on feeding people, keeping them healthy, helping their communities to prosper and thrive, and turning the world over to the next generation in better shape than we found it.

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