AERA Exhibits at Science & Engineering Festival
AERA Exhibits at Science & Engineering Festival

May 2012

On April 28-29, AERA joined numerous scientific, academic, and research organizations that provided over 3,000 exhibits at the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival, in Washington, D.C. The AERA exhibit featured the research program of learning scientist and AERA Fellow Yasmin Kafai, University of Pennsylvania, whose work uses technology, media, and games to teach creative problem solving.

The festival attracted more than 150,000 attendees over two days and included exhibits, stage shows, and a book fair. Numerous scientists and persons from scientific and popular media participated, including Mayim Bialik from television’s “The Big Bang Theory,” engineer and author Homer Hickam, and the Planetary Society’s Bill Nye (the Science Guy). 

Kafai and several high school students shared examples of learning through games and virtual environments. Such games were examples of developments through the media-rich programming environment called Scratch, which Kafai helped develop. She also provided attendees with handouts for creating a simple circuit and a monster via sewing electrical thread into fabric. Kafai wrote about the use of Scratch in a 2011 Review of Research in Education article.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival seeks to present compelling, exciting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to reinvigorate youth interest in these fields. Its advisory board represents a partnership among Nobel laureates, national science societies, and industry, university, and government officials.

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