Science, math and fun at the fair

STEAM Expo, Aug. 17-21

Drone racing, Unruly Splats, 3-D printed butter cows, virtual reality and an eSports competition are some of the engaging activities to be presented at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo at the Illinois State Fair. The expo will be open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 17-21 in the Orr Building on the west side of the fairgrounds near Conservation World.

This second annual event hosted by the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) showcases innovation and emerging career opportunities related to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). More than 40 exhibitors will present interactive exhibits and engaging demonstrations. Some will be available on specific days and others present for the full five days of the expo. More information is at

The expo will highlight how STEAM is being incorporated in K-12 education, postsecondary education, research and businesses. Exhibitors include the Illinois Innovation Network, University of Illinois Chicago Women in Engineering, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Kidzeum, Google and many other businesses and educational organizations and institutions. The University of Illinois Department of Physics will present a science-based escape room with interactive puzzles and challenges. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's inflatable Starlab Planetarium projects the night sky, showing movements of stars and planets. Robotics, 3-D printing and virtual reality will be featured in the Learning Technology Center's "STEAM playground." Drone racing, sponsored by Grow Our Own, will be held in the Grandstand on Friday, Aug. 19.

The expo is an opportunity for students to learn about careers in STEAM and is designed for people of all ages to learn about science, technology, engineering, math and innovation in a fun and engaging environment.

About The Author

Karen Ackerman Witter

Karen Ackerman Witter started freelance writing after a 35-year career in state government holding various senior leadership positions. Prior to retiring she was associate director of the Illinois State Museum for 14 years. She is the past president of the Kidzeum Board of Directors and is an active volunteer...

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