Science Comes to Life for All Ages During Family Science Days

Family Science Days is open to the public from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Austin Convention Center, Level 1, Exhibit Hall 5. | Neil Orman/AAAS

Families are greeted by the sound of laughter and whirring robots upon arrival to Family Science Days in Texas’ Austin Convention Center.

Parents, children and other relatives gather for a chance to explore interactive science exhibits, meet an astronaut and take a virtual reality trip inside the International Space Station during this weekend event open to the public beginning Saturday  Feb. 17 during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting.

Each year, AAAS holds this popular event during its Annual Meeting, allowing families to interact with scientists from a variety of disciplines. This year’s exhibits include a make-your-own greenhouse station, which uses plastic bags, beans and soil, as well as robots operated by an application on a tablet.

Raginder Chauhan made the trip from Houston with his seven-year-old son Adhar, when a friend told Raginder about Family Science Days. Chauhan said that it is important for children to interact with science hands-on because it could inspire them to pursue careers in science as adults.

Families with children of all ages are invited to engage with science through hands-on exhibits and enjoy talks from scientists during Family Science Days at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting. | Neil Orman/AAAS

“It will give them direction and show them that they can do,” Chauhan said, “and you can see here today how crazy they are about it.”

Adhar is an aspiring paleontologist, but learning about the components of a four-wheeled robot as he drove it around the event room floor using a remote device that he cited as one of the highlights of his day.

“My favorite thing was the robot because it can split apart and you have to put it back together and then you can use an app to control it,” said Adhar.

The event also features various speakers on the Family Science Days stage. Raul Ramos, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brandeis University kicked off the program by reminding children that any one of them could grow up to be a scientist.

“You don’t have to be the next Einstein,” said Ramos. “All you have to do is be curious and be interested.

[Associated image: Neil Orman/AAAS]