Creekside and Silver Sands Middle Schools also participated in a science project display competition.
It may not have been a school day but children had a day of learning during a four-hour science event at the Volusia Mall.
During the "Science Celebration" on Saturday, April 14, the mall's court area was transformed into a hands-on science center where children were able to learn about STEM-related topics at 15 different stations, plus get up close to the galaxies with a portable planetarium with star shows. The event was orchestrated through a partnership between the mall and the Museum of Arts and Sciences.
Children, like Landon Riedy, who had attended the event with his mother, Becca Riedy, had the opportunity to try out demonstrations that were meant to teach about a variety of subjects, from solar and kinetic energy to how electromagnets work.
"He just likes science, he's very interested in it," Riedy said about her son. "[The event] was something we wanted to do."
Landon had been at a station where Kristina Circelli, Volusia Mall marketing director, was helping children with an engineering type of project that used building blocks to roll marbles down a path.
Circelli, who helped spearhead the inaugural Science Celebration, said she had been wanting to plan an educational event around Earth Day. This also expanded to include a "Duel of the Schools" where mall visitors voted on science project displays created by Creekside Middle School and Silver Sands Middle School students.
"We thought it would be a really cool idea to combine education and fun," Circelli said. "It branched off to also work with schools and show off cools things students are doing."
Silver Sands Middle School language arts teacher Cindy Circelli was also at the event. She said that while Science Celebration was a way to showcase the schools and what students are doing, it was also more than that.
"It also showcases the STEM and all the interactions that the kids can do to learn," Circelli said. "It helps them learn and keeps them interested as well."
Kelsy Hansen, education coordinator for the Museum of Arts and Sciences, said each of the 15 stations at the mall coordinate with the Florida Department of Education curriculum. She added that it allows for children to also explore new concepts they may not have previously known about.
"Young students can learn about fossils and energy and solar energy and obviously space," Hansen said. "It's just important to get families and kids together doing science stuff."