A week of STEM excitement unfolds at UNI

A week of STEM excitement unfolds at UNI

STEM Festival in the UNI-Dome

This week at the University of Northern Iowa is a special one for STEM education, with two big events coming to campus. 

First, the annual Cedar Valley Family STEM Festival is held in the UNI-DOME on Tuesday, March 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. There’s fun for all ages as exhibitors come from throughout Iowa to showcase hands-on learning activities from driving robots to flying flight simulators and so much more, all sparking the interest of students and parents alike. Organized like a street festival or county fair, visitors stroll from one activity to the next, engaging in educational and entertaining activities. 

Later in the week, 54 teams representing six states and two visiting countries will descend on McLeod Center and the UNI-Dome to compete in the highest level of high school competitive robotics in the world. The FIRST Robotics Competition will draw more than 2,000 high school students and coaches, not including their families and other onlookers. This is the only FIRST Robotics Competition event in the state of Iowa.

The FIRST action starts when teams arrive Wednesday and load their approximately 150-pound robots into the UNI-Dome where each team has a 10’x10’ pit. Teams spend Thursday practicing with their robots. Friday and Saturday feature qualification matches with opening ceremonies with speakers from John Deere and the University of Northern Iowa. Competition matches are played on a 27’x54’ playing field in the McLeod Center. Playoffs will be held Sunday afternoon.