Robots, Cars and DNA- A Weekend STEM Expo!

What do you get when you mix robots, cars and DNA? You get one pretty cool interactive science expo display booth day for kids. This last Saturday, the third annual San Diego Science Expo Day took place at Petco Park to an attendance of more than 20,000 participants. Open to the general public, hundreds of science exhibitors illustrated STEM concepts, and the X PRIZE Foundation was there to partake in the fun. We showcased three PRIZES: the Google Lunar X PRIZE, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE and the Archon Genomics X PRIZE. Thanks to second place winning MoonBots Team, “The Shadowed Craters,” hundreds of kids got the opportunity to play with the Shadowed Craters' LEGO MINDSTORM robots that emulated the challenge of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Kids got to learn from other kids how to maneuver computer programmed robots around a LEGO crafted moonscape. It was amazing to see how many people stood in line waiting to have fun with this hands on learning activity. In addition to learning about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, people got to see a replication of the winning mainstream class Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE car- Edison2. Teachers and parents were also given information about the online lessons plans that are on the X PRIZE, U.S. Department of Energy supported “Fuel Our Future Now,” web site. Last, but not least, students of all ages learned that science can have an artistic twist. The Archon Genomics X PRIZE taught students about DNA. When scientists see a DNA Alias of a particular protein, they can find the protein's DNA sequence by reversing the coding process. For fun, we challenged students to perform the same process by having them code their name in DNA. In all, it was a great day that engaged the public to learn about the X PRIZE Foundation and the kids also discover that there are innovative careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

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