Science is for punks | News

This summer, the Pinhead Institute aims to keep kids engaged and interested in STEM through their six-week Punk Science 2022 program. Throughout the summer, Pinhead has scheduled free events focusing on specific science topics taught by specialists who live and breathe in those particular fields.

Punk Science kicks off Tuesday at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse at 5:15 pm with Pollinator Powers, featuring Chris Anderson and Kaysee Arrowsmith from the University of Washington Brosi Lab. Pollinator Powers will look at the coevolution of plants and their pollinators.

“We hope kids will take away a better understanding of the role pollinators like birds, bees and even flies play in our world. Pollination is not just about bumblebees flying around a hot summer garden, but intricate dances between species that have coevolved over time to meet each other’s needs perfectly,” said Karen James, Pinhead’s chief of staff and communications director

Anderson, who was a Pinhead intern in 2006 and 2007, is thrilled to work with the institute once again. Growing up in Norwood, Anderson explained he didn’t have much access to science or much of an about what it meant to be a scientist until he started interning with Pinhead. He returns to Telluride as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, working with the Brosi Lab, which focuses on pollinator networks, hence Tuesday’s topic.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m able to do that for a new generation because (Pinhead) forever altered the trajectory of my life,” Anderson said.

Tuesday’s lesson will be about pollinators, why they’re important and how they help different ecosystems. Anderson and Arrowsmith have planned engaging activities for the kids, like splitting them into different roles like hummingbirds, flies and bees.

“We want them to live this visceral kind of activity to see what it’s like to be a pollinator and what it means when a pollinator is specialized to certain plants,” Anderson added.

James explained the name “Punk” Science is a reference to their hopes the series will be fun and approachable for kids.

“A sort of irreverent take on science so you know these aren’t dry, boring, PowerPoint presentations from talking heads in white coats,” James said.

Jessica Tenenbaum, the special projects guru at Pinhead, encourages families with kids of all ages to attend. She believes that even though the topics will be taught at an elementary level, the information takes complicated subjects and makes them accessible to people no matter their science background. In previous years, Tenenbaum noticed the parents were the ones who asked the majority of the questions at the end of the lesson.

“It’s also an opportunity to sit back and watch your kids have fun. … The whole idea of ​​the program is to spark interest and create inspiration and motivation,” said Tenenbaum.

Topics throughout the summer include Solar Sedans, Color Chemistry, Robots, Playful Polymers and Rockets.

Playful Polymers will be led by Megan Ruhmel, a research technician for ExxonMobil. Kids will have the chance to make the perfect bouncy ball recipe and talk about polymers and all of their uses.

“Our biggest expectation for the summer is that everyone who attends will have fun while learning something new, or in a new way. Our Punk Science series offers incredible opportunities to learn real, high-end science from professionals in approachable ways with fun, hands -on activities that keep everyone engaged,” said James.

The series will be held every Tuesday through Aug. 2 from 5:15-6 pm at the Transfer Warehouse. Each program will repeat on Wednesdays through Aug. 3 at Ridgway’s Hartwell Park from 10:15-11 am The events are free, open to the public and do not require registration.

For adults 21 and over looking for a different kind of STEM experience this summer, Pinhead is also hosting the Science of Cocktails from 6-8 pm at the Transfer Warehouse July 16.


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