Virginia Science Festival

Saturday, October 4, 2014 to Saturday, October 11, 2014
Location & Time: 

Multiple Locations

The Virginia Science Festival is a large-scale, highly visible outdoor event that provides opportunity for engagement and exchange between children, teens, families, and local scientists. This all-day affair, which will take place on October 4 in Blacksburg and October 11 in Roanoke, from 10 am to 4 pm, will feature more than 100 exhibitors, who will provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment. The Virginia Science Festival has gained great momentum over the past few months and grown to a state-wide event! We are so proud that Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are our honorary co-chairs.

Activities on Saturday, October 4th will have an opening ceremoney at 9:45am with President Sands followed by dozens of exhibits at the Moss Arts Center:

  • Living Science: The Fralin Life Science Institute will showcase one of its main outreach programs, Biotech-in-a-Box kits, and also show photos and other materials related to work in the life sciences. The will be giving away FREE t-shirts and other memorabilia.
  • Drone-ing for Microscopic Life in the Air: Dr. David Schmale, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, will showcase his research via spooling videos and photos.
  • Pollinator Health and Protection at Virginia Tech: Graduate students in Dr. Troy Anderson’s lab will have a couple of observation bee hives  as well as information about their research activities. The Entomology Alwood Society will be selling honey and T-shirts to fundraise money for the Society.
  • Human Health: The Translational Obesity Research Center wants to see if you can determine the correct amount of sugar in a Coke? In orange juice? In a slurpee? Compete against others in the physical activity challenge and stop by for a complimentary health screening. Also, learn about the research we are doing in Blacksburg and see if you may qualify for one of our studies.
  • All About Animals: Mill Mountain Zoo will educate visitors about endangered species and the zoo’s conservation efforts. Artifacts, such as snow leopard pelts, will be available to better understand the animals. Live animals may be available ONLY at the Roanoke location for a limited time.
  • Interactive Acoustic Bat Call Game:  Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science will offer an interactive bat call identification game and researchers will contribute some echoes from different types of targets (e.g.,vegetation) so that participants can guess what the sound was bouncing off of.
  • Big Data Portal: The Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech will  display how researchers can predict the future through Big Data by  having a booth that will act as a “portal” into another side of the world (Latin America) where people can see real time data prediction occur.
  • Frozen Fractals All Around: Virginia Tech Mathematics Department is planning to display how geometric patterns are both beautiful and useful. Make your own fractals and enjoy learning about these geometric figures and their applications in both technology and art.
  • Practice Being a Veterinarian:
  • DNA Extraction: The Biochemistry Club at Virginia Tech will provide a hands on experience of DNA isolation from strawberries that children and adults alike can participate in in just a few short minutes.
  • Bird Banding: The Virginia  Tech College of Science, biological sciences department will set up a demonstration of the way birds are banded so they can be tracked to learn about the species.
  • Reduced Energy Consumption: Appalachian Power and Community Housing partners Energy Solutions will have a hands-on demonstration of building science including a House of Pressure that demonstrations how a house works as a system.
  • Cardboard World:  The Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology is participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge. Come be a part of it and create something new out of cardboard!
  • Chladni Plate: The College of Science at Virginia Tech will demonstrate the concept of resonance through  an old parlor trick of Ernst Chladni — using sound waves to drive sand particles into exotic patterns on a vibrating metal plate.
  • Robot Parade: The Tuxedo Pandas with the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council will host an encore of the 2014 Robot Parade. Kids and adults can make line-following autonomous robots ahead of time, or use one of 10 Lego kits to build something on the spot.
  • Dynamic Responsive Facade // Flower Wall: Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design will present the Flower Wall, a dynamic facade that optimizes interior environments by adapting to changing outdoor environments; it was inspired by the phototropic response of flowers.
  • Community Health Education: Carilion Clinic will have a variety of personal health displays including NED, our Children’s Hospital mascot, Glow-Germ and skin analyzer. “Glo Germ,” an educational tool that helps teach proper hand-washing hygiene. Using a safe UV light, Glo Germ casts a revealing glow, turning the invisible into “germs you can see!” The DERMASCAN™ skin analyzer uses blacklight technology to reveal sun damage not seen by the naked eye. Sun safety tips included.
  • Who Doesn’t Love Animals? Check out sheep, horses, and other animals that are part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
  • The Wild Relatives of Your Grocery Store: The College of Science  is displaying the differences between modern food and their wild relatives, highlighting crop modification.
  • Virus Tracker: In the Virus Tracker game, players become part of a virtual virus- spreading exercise in which the QR coded bands and/or their mobile phone (via the Virus Tracker App) represent their infection with a particular virus. Players gain points in the game by infecting and vaccinating other players with the Zombie Virus!
  • 3D Printing with the Virginia Tech DREAMS Lab- Come and learn about 3D Printing with the Virginia Tech DREAMS Lab! Visitors will be able to handle many different types of 3D Printed objects and use our DreamVendor – the first 3D Printing vending machine!
  • First Robotics Team 401 Demo: Montgomery County Public Schools will demonstrate one or more of the robots built by it’s very own high school students. They might shoot baskets, fling frisbees, or pick up balls.
  • Memory Game: Come play a memory game  and view the electrical activity in your own brain! The psychology and computer science departments  will inform visitors about working memory/problem solving and how they measure electrical activity in the brain from outside the skull (non-invasive, with electrodes being as safe as a bandaid).
  • Virginia’s Amazing Amphibians: Dr. Lisa Belden, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Science, will display Virginia salamander species in aquariums. Belden studies the role of symbiotic skin microbes in preventing amphibian infection by the chytrid fungus that has caused many amphibian population declines around the world.
  • Make a Lava Lamp Colorful and Scientific! Create a colorful environment where “oil and water don’t mix” and explore the science behind it with Virginia 4-H.
  • Scientific Visualization: Learn how scientists use visual interfaces, like Virtual Reality and gesture-based interaction, to gain insight into their data!
  • Time for Slime: Make your own slime and other gooey fluids using common household ingredients with the Virginia Tech Mathematics Department.
  • Salt Marsh Suite: Explore the environment and life in a coastal salt marsh habitat through interactive sound and imagery provided by the Virginia Tech, School of Visual Arts and School of Performing Arts.
  • Demonstrating Integrated Science: The College of Science’s Academy of Integrated Sciences provides a hands-on display demonstrating neuroscience, nanoscience, and the properties of detergents. People will be able to study detergents with milk and food coloring; measure muscle fatigue with an EMG Spiker Box; and see how differences in current run through film on a glass slide can cause a change in opacity.
  • Hokie Bug Fest: Get a glimpse of the upcoming Hokie Bug Fest on October 11. See some exotic arthropods from all over the world and make a “buggy” craft.
  • CritiSearch: CritiSearch form Third Lab allows you to search the web and decide what the results should be.
  • ThoughtSwap: ThoughtSwap by Third Lab is a conversation facilitation software to be used in settings such as classrooms. ThoughtSwap encourages people to be empathetic by prompting them to support the position of another.
  • ROACHZILLA: Bugs and Beyond: Explore the work of Radford University Biology Faculty and Students conducting research involving feeding bee hormones to Madagascar hissing cockroaches, resulting in massive increases in size.
  • Forensic Science Institute: Explore the work of the Forensic Science Institute at Radford University, promoting and supporting forensic science education, research and public service.
  • Exploring Science and Research at the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School: Visitors will be able to explore examples of experiments and research conducted at the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School. Students and faculty will showcase biotechnology, environmental science, and arctic sea ice projects. Children and families will be able to conduct thermal scans and try on arctic gear.
  • Dalek Robot: Roanoke Robotics & Makers Club of Southwest Virginia presents their home-made robot patterned after the Daleks on the long-running “Doctor Who” television show on BBC. Use the ring modulator to make your voice sound just like a Dalek!
  • Virginia Career VIEW: Explore STEAM Careers! Do you love Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math? Do you want to learn more about which careers use STEAM? Stop by Virginia Career VIEW’s booth to discover STEAM careers through online games and activities! Explore your interests and learn more about which STEAM careers might be a good fit for YOU! Online and printable resources will be available for students and parents…book lists, puzzles, and more!
  • Sound of Fractions: The Sound of Fractions helps you think of fractions through your own created music through tapping.
  • VT Physics Outreach: The Physics Outreach team has many exciting and electrifying hands on demonstrations of physics concepts. Crowd participation is encouraged! Both young and old will be able to enjoy learning everything from what happens to marshmallows in space, to how electric generators work.
  • Bland County STEM-UP: Visitors will be involved with three hands-on interactive activities. Bland County students will demonstrate common tasks of the Lego EV3 Mindstorm Robots as participants experience basic programming actions. Motorized cup robots will be available for visitors t0 draw complex designs on paper that may be taken home as souvenirs. Participants will also have the opportunity to design, build and launch a paper rocket through a model solar system.
  • Looking Down is Looking Up: Why do we work with aerial photography? Hands-on activities allow participants to examine aerial photos using GIS and basic remote sensing interpretation skills to explore, estimate, & measure land use changes.
  • Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology: Engage in hands-on activities exploring some principles behind the interesting properties of nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are ubiquitous in our modern lives; they are embedded in your clothing, soaps, cosmetics, and TVs. Nanoscience is explored today for advances in medicine, electronics, energy, and more.
  • 3D Mapping Event: Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology and Advanced Research Computing activity highlighting a different aspect of geospatial data and visualization including Community Mapping in 3D, Open Street Map – Blacksburg Mapping Party, 3D Virginia for Sustainable Communities, and other events.
  • Soft and Squishy- Come explore common and uncommon squishy materials with the Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry! We offer fun, exciting, and messy activities for kids and parents to see how simple do-it-yourself experiments can ignite natural curiosity in the sciences.
  • SNAP Apps- Learn how to “SNAP” together your own computer application in a snap!
  • Cyanotype Microscopy- See the work of Blacksburg High School students who utilized the cyanotype process to uniquely visualize biological material in the BHS STEM microscopy lab.
  • VT Microbiology Club- Will host an exhibit that will focus on  the roles microbes play in our daily lives. Microscopes will be set up for viewing of multiple bacterias.
  • Life of Birds: Form and Function- Come explore the various parts of a bird’s life to see how they are well adapted for various functions important to their survival and reproduction. We will exhibit different nests, feathers, and beaks, and have real museum specimens.
  • ICAT Maker Camp- See how campers at ICAT Maker Camp built musical instruments from cardboard, Arduino controllers and sensors.
  • 3D DNA in the Cube- Visualize DNA by walking around inside it. Use Oculus Rift technology and the ICAT Cube to see new ways researchers can see data.