A STEM adventure awaits kids at CAC Engineering Fest – Chicago Parent | Dauktion

For the past eight years, kids have come to the Chicago Architecture Center for an action-packed day of discovery at the annual Engineering Fest. Each year, more than 1,000 children ages 8-14 are introduced to STEM subjects through hands-on learning and creative problem-solving activities. And while younger attendees may not notice as they build with Legos and envision cities of the future, parents are sure to see the festival’s educational benefits.

Chicago is known for its iconic skyline, but behind every soaring skyscraper is a team of engineers bringing innovation to market. This is why the CAC is so firmly convinced that Engineering Fest is an integral part of identity. In the past, the festival has focused on urban transit, the construction of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and the city’s tallest skyscrapers. This year, attendees will learn how engineers are addressing climate change in the built environment. At its core, Engineering Fest is about inspiring the next generation of engineers, architects and designers by giving kids today access to the experts.

“When families think of the Chicago Architecture Center, they might think of skyscrapers before engineering. However, our education team organizes a festival each year that focuses on innovation and advances in the field to showcase the science behind the walls of our best-known structures,” says Angela Esposito, Director of Education and Experience at the CAC. “Everything from bridges and transportation systems to structures and high-rise buildings relies on engineering. It plays a big role in the identity of the city.”

A focus on the future

This year’s program on May 28, 2022 takes an age-appropriate look at the link between climate change and the built environment. Industry leaders, including those attending Engineering Fest, are increasingly focused on shaping cities that strive to be carbon neutral by utilizing cleaner energy sources such as solar and wind power. “The focus is on the responsibility of architecture and engineering in the conversation about climate change,” says Esposito. “Families will be able to work alongside real engineers and CAC team members while learning about the impact of the built environment and how frontline designers can and should build with global impact.”

The 2022 festival will be held in conjunction with the CAC exhibition Energy Revolution, which opens on April 9th. The exhibition looks to the future, examining how cities and individuals can adopt sustainable practices and innovative technologies to directly combat climate change. While becoming environmentally conscious isn’t always easy, parents and children alike will leave the exhibition inspired by how cities are shifting their focus to renewable resources and motivated to make personal choices that can help stop dangerous global warming to slow down.

What can you expect at this year’s festival?

There is no shortage of fun and educational opportunities for children at this year’s Engineering Fest. Continuing the program’s focus on creating greener cities, children can build their own wind turbines from household materials while learning the importance of carbon-neutral energy sources.

Take to the streets of Chicago to explore the systems that help people navigate the city on a youth tour with a CAC expert. Discover the feats of engineering that make the city’s famous bridges possible and learn about Chicago’s impressive “L” train system. Not only is the CTA a reliable way to get to and from a destination on time, it also saves energy compared to individual vehicles.

During Engineering Fest, children learn how engineers are tackling climate change in the cities of the future they are designing today. But there are also opportunities for individuals to get involved and help save the planet. Whether that means committing to showering less to save water, riding bikes or carpooling to school to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or remembering to use reusable utensils when eating, kids have a moment to think about it to think about what they can do to help take action Photo Booth, complete with fun props for the perfect photo op.

Learn from the experts

Industry experts will also be on hand to connect with children, answer their questions and inspire them to think big. The aim is to introduce young participants to the different facets of engineering and ultimately to create a bridge to this field, outlining career paths that children might otherwise not have known about.

“We find that children leave the festival with a new appreciation and understanding of the city around them,” says Esposito. “You learn something here at the CAC and you immediately see examples of it in the world. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children grasp technical principles and how excited they are to relate them to what they see on their block or in their neighborhood.

At the end of the day, Engineering Fest is all about connecting with kids and sparking their curiosity. This may mean improving their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, or even inspiring them to pursue a career in STEM later on. The great thing about the festival is that it’s an open-ended adventure for kids to explore at their leisure. Learn more about Engineering Fest and register at architecture.org.

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