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Virtual STEAM Expo to help keep students engaged

The deadline was April 13th, but they will accept late entries
Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 20:10:35-04

GREAT FALLS — A woman in Great Falls is helping to keep kids busy by hosting a virtual steam expo.

The idea is to get kids up and to think outside of the box by using at-home experiments to explore ideas.

The Virtual Great Falls STEAM Expo organizer Nikki Davalos, says that the whole motivation for this was to help her child get excited about learning as it was the first thing he was interested in from kindergarten.

"He was so excited to do it and it was like the only thing that I could get him to be excited when it came to learning. So, when all of this happened, I just thought oh man, it's going to be difficult to get them interested in learning when they are not in their natural environment. I thought how cool it would be to have a steam expo. It couldn't be that hard virtually, in fact, it might be a bit easier for some kids because presenting is difficult," says Davalos.

People that are interested can still enter even though the registration deadline ended on the 13th.

"I have put out there that if they are still people who wanted to do it, I have judges who are excited to look at these projects," she says.

Davalos believes a lot of positives have come out of this since she started getting interest in the expo.

She says, "I got a message from one parent saying 'I'm so excited you guys are doing this. It gave my child a new purpose running around the house trying to find projects all over now.' I think that's important for them to see the excitement and the learning they can do within their house. I think sometimes kiddos get so comfortable in their homes they don't see all the things that could be explored just in their environment or questions."

Taking social interaction away from children can be difficult. Davalos says this is one area that they hope to help with.

"We were going to do a summer project where we had my kid's expo where we were going to do a science theme. Kids were going to be able to come out with multiple vendors in our community, and we can't do that now. So this was a nice segue into something virtual and new," says Davalos.

Davalos partnered with Linking Our Voices Everyday, L.O.V.E. to put this expo on.

Toys for Tots are also providing unused toys that didn't go to homes in the community and using those as prizes for the projects, as well as selling raffle tickets.

Davalos added, "There is really cool projects out there I was just amazed at some of the little ideas that were coming up and how different they were. There are all ages, the youngest is 16 months old, and our oldest is sixteen."