STEAM at The Pier

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The 3rd Annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest and celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (aka “S.T.E.A.M.”) took place at the Santa Monica Pier today. We wanted to make an unconventional visit to the Pier so we decided to check out this event.

There was the expected school competition for the best Rube Goldberg machine. This year’s face off involved 12 teams arriving at an innovative way to open an umbrella in 20 steps using every day household items.

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We participated in some innovative activities ourselves. Trash 4 Teaching, the organization who recycles local manufacturers’ throwaways into inexpensive tools to support STEAM education, encouraged us to make recycled-machines made out of trash (old paper tubes, old golf balls, used Ace bandages, even the old Belly Bandit that newly indoctrinated Westside moms frequently purchase new for $75+). What a great way to foster our kids’ learning of gravity and recycling through imaginative play.

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I was excited to finally get a chance to get a closer look at the portable 3-D printer that the Barnes and Nobles booth was demonstrating. Did I mention that I wanted to take it home?

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The kiddies enjoyed visiting the Columbia Space Center booth, which offered a hands-on experience with magnets and an arts-and-crafts activity of making stomp rockets out of every day household items.

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We briefly sat and listened to a panel of innovators (Diana Skaar, Head of Business Innovation for X, Kristina Kipp from JPL’s Mars Rover, LA Robotics award recipient, Cynthia Erenas) hosted by The Tomorrow Show’s Gray Bright, then checked out this repurposed gas-to-electric VW Bug, locally known as Volts Wattson.

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Check out this cool automatic drawing robot! Kid Magnet, for sure!

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We skipped the bicycle-powered ice cream booth, as well as a chance to pilot an underwater ROV mini-submarine underneath the Pier at Heal The Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, as the kiddies were getting tired. As fate would have it, our early departure gave us the opportunity to see the biggest fan and benefactor of innovation. I just wished he had time to tell us whether he updated his grappling hook with the latest and greatest materials science has to offer. If only Lucius Fox were here.

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Steam Machines
Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401

© Copyright 2012-2016 by Deborah Kuzma, and All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah Kuzma, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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