The Local First Arizona Foundation and the Arizona SciTech Festival partnered to bring Science Happens Here, a new STEM education program, to rural Arizona communities by officially launching the program in Safford, Arizona, earlier this year. Science Happens Here mixes collecting trading cards, local businesses, and STEM education together to get children grades third through eighth excited to learn about science and technology. The trading cards are designed to engage kids to better understand the science that surrounds them, and kids collect the cards at local businesses (no purchase necessary). The collectable cards then give kids access to experiments on the Science Happens Here website.
“Our hope is that parents will encourage their children to explore science and have fun learning and conducting experiments at home,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Director of Local First Arizona Foundation. “This is a safe and economical way to teach kids about the Science that surrounds them every day, as well as inspire kids to learn about their community’s local businesses.”
For example, the Slimey Oils card can be found at some local automotive businesses and gives access to a viscosity experiment. The Flower Power card can be discovered at some local bakeries and restaurants and grants access to a gluten extraction experiment. In total, there are 13 Science Happens Here cards to collect. Kids can pick up any of the Science Happens Here cards at participating businesses in the Safford area, including Ginavieves, Lee Rite Way, Cottage B&B and Bakery, A Step Back in Time, Trophies N’ Tees, Ortega’s Shoes, Smith & Taylor Automotive Inc, Kempton Chevrolet, Curtis Landscaping & Irrigation, Priority One Salon, Crossfit Nemesis, Indigo Mountain Wellness, Gifts & Toys, Bowman Consulting, Candy’s Ice Cream Co, Taylor Freeze, Graham County Co-Op, Hot Wheels Cyclery, Richard’s Music Co, CMI Quick Copy, Abacus Solutions Products, Holladays Photo Emporium, and Gingerbread Co.
Over 130 kids have participated in card collecting for Science Happens Here since the program launched earlier this year. Participants then entered codes from the cards that they collected into the Science Happens Here website for access to experiments and the chance to win prizes. Mrs. Loya’s 4th grade class at Safford’s Lafe Nelson School had the most entries and was selected for the grand prize: a day with the Arizona Science Center’s “Science on Wheels” visual learning experience. The class has chosen space exploration for their theme.
What has been evident since the launch of the Science Happens Here program is that it has been able to easily engage the community in talking about science and technology with minimal effort. “Science Happens Here is Sneaky Science at its best,” said Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director of the Arizona SciTech Festival. “It not only showcases to the public how science happens all around us but also empowers business and community leaders to become communicators of science.”
“It is inspiring to see so many kids participating in the Science Happens Here program in Safford.” said Lanning. “The Local First Arizona Foundation’s mission is to support local communities and economies through collaborative partnerships, and Science Happens Here does just that by bringing families through the doors of local businesses, engaging kids in science, and supporting Safford’s unique sense of place.”
Science Happens Here is an ongoing initiative and will continue in the Fall when school goes back into session. Another grand prize winner will be selected at the conclusion of the semester. Learn more about Science Happens Here and where to collect the cards at http://sciencehappenshereaz.com/.