STEM education in spotlight at Youth Fair at Tamiami Park

The priority on STEM education set by the White House five years ago is reflected in new student exhibits and competitions at the annual Youth Fair, continuing through Apr. 5 at Tamiami Park, Coral Way (SW 24th Street) and 107th Avenue.

“The more we can do at the Youth Fair to promote project-based STEM learning, the more our community’s youth will engage in these subjects,” said Robert Hohenstein, president and CEO of Miami- Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition. “We are proud the Youth Fair is helping to make a difference in education.”

The Youth Fair will feature the following new STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — exhibits and competitions:

Digi-Con — The technology exhibit is designed for young and old alike. Activities include:

• Hewlett Packard’s “Sprout” Room – Youth Fair guests can try out their creativity on 20 high-tech “Sprout” computers with advanced touch technology. The desktop computer contains a three-camera system, built-in projector, 20-point touch mat and a touch screen, all run with an Intel i7 processor.

• First Lego League (FLL) Robotic Tournament – First Lego robots will compete at the Youth Fair. Teams of students will be evaluated for robot design, robot game, research project and teamwork. Each team builds its competition robot under the international guidelines of the annual FLLMission. A different mission is announced each year. The ultimate goal of the FLL competition is to promote teamwork and interest in science, technology and engineering in youth ages 10-16.

• Robotics BattleBot Challenge – High school teams will have engineered a robot weighing up to 15 pounds with the ability to defeat their opponent in a three-minute match. The top three teams will be awarded first, second and third place trophies. Best-engineered and most creative will receive Judge’s trophies.

• SimSpray Virtual Painting Simulation – SimSpray is a state-of-the-art virtual reality spray instructional tool. The virtual reality head goggles and a input device are used to simulate the painting experience for painting and coating automotive, industrial and military parts.

WaterVentures – Mar. 20-25 – The aqua colored 53-foot semi-trailer houses a water-learning lab on wheels. It is designed to spark interest in Florida’s beautiful waterways, pollution and water conservation. Interactive exhibits invite students to explore an aquifer cave, view water microbes through a microscope, and learn how use of water in your own home affects others around the world. As one of Miami- Dade County Public School’s mobile labs, the water lab is the brainchild of Crystal Springs Foundation and Creative Arts Unlimited and is sponsored by Zephyrhills Brand 100% Natural Spring Water (

History of Pigeons, Apr. 3-5 – Take a step back to communication before the digital age. Even before the age of the telegraph there was pigeon post. Homing or racing pigeons were used to carry messages. Notably hundreds flew risky missions in recent history during WWI and WWII. They were used by the Greeks to announce the winner of the Olympics more than 3,000 years ago.

The founder of Reuters news agency kept a fleet of 45 pigeons to deliver news and stock prices. Pigeons even were trained to carry medicine. The Internet retired the last pigeon service in 2002 in India. Fair guests will learn about different breeds of pigeons, how to read a pigeon band, what to do if a pigeon is found with a band, and other activities.

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition and its Competitive Exhibits Department takes great pride in the various programs available to all youth in Miami- Dade County. These programs were established to encourage and reward student achievement in a variety of educational and informative exhibits and competitions. The Competitive Exhibits Department successfully combines the rich tradition of education, art, horticulture, agriculture, livestock, entertainment and athletics.

Each year the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition directly provides to students more than $300,000 in academic scholarships, premiums and awards and its staff and volunteers dedicate countless hours that truly enrich the lives of the students, their families and the community. More than 40,000 student projects are exhibited each year to more than half a million families, friends and fairgoers.

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