Dordt College News

Dordt College provides opportunity for youth to explore math and science

February 7, 2013

Dordt College departments in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are helping host STEM Fest, an educational event for children ages 9 to14 on Saturday, February 16. The second annual festival is organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the 4-H Youth Program.

This year Dordt is taking a much bigger role in STEM Fest, which is hosted on campus.

“Last year the event was just getting on its feet. Dordt provided the space for the event and gave a single presentation,” said Nolan Van Gaalen, Dordt College professor of engineering. “This year we found the faculty was anxious to be more involved, so we are providing seven unique classes.”

At this year’s STEM event, students will have the opportunity to learn from Dordt professors about the following: food science, farm safety, electronic toys, bridge building, computer science theory, engineering careers, natural resource preservation, engineering design (creating a concrete canoe), silly putty chemistry, motion analysis, and math as it relates to the human body.

The event also provides an opportunity for more than a dozen Dordt students, who will be helping with the day’s activities and gaining experience in communicating about their field.

“We’ve done smaller presentations in class, but nothing to this size and depth,” said Andrew Deelstra, a junior mechanical engineering major. Deelstra is on the team creating a 175-pound concrete canoe the day of the event.

“We want to be able to teach children the kind of teamwork that is needed to complete a project like this,” Deelstra said. “It’s a long process of figuring out the right kind of mold and reinforcement. But also, we want to teach that engineering isn’t just about equations. You have to be able to work well with people to get the job done best.”

The event allows Dordt to continue its mission of being a good neighbor.

“We always want to offer the community opportunities to see what it means to be stewards to serve the Lord in creation,” said Van Gaalen. “This is a great chance for students, professors, alumni, and the community to work together toward Christ-centered renewal.”

Interested participants should pre-register by Feb. 11, but they can choose their classes the day of the event, beginning at 8:45 a.m. at the Dordt College Science and Technology Center room SB101.

Registration is free, but participants are advised to bring $10 for lunch. Children from Lyon, Sioux, Osceola, O’Brien, Dickinson, and Clay counties are invited to participate. A registration form can be found at All participants can mail their registration to Sioux County Extension, 400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700, Orange City, IA, 51041.

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