Air show activities help kids get interested in “STEAM” areas

BOX ELDER, SD — As exciting as it can be for families to take in the planes soaring in the skies above Ellsworth, there is also an educational element.

Children’s activities in the Pride Hangar provided unique opportunities for hands-on science, aviation, engineering and more.

“It’s kind of a fun way to get them up and talk to us on top of just having Tootsie Rolls and salt water taffy,” Craig Bailey said.

Bailey is the president of Novum Nano, a company created based on research from South Dakota Mines that focuses on nanotechnology to develop nano-based greases and thermal coatings. Bailey and his team had an interactive catapult setup for kids to understand how to change variables to improve function, what nanotechnology can do for materials.

“Nanotechnology spans all departments in the School of Mines,” he said. “And a lot of parts of what can be problem-solving apps.”

Cole-TAC’s Dustin Coleman showcased a different approach to sewing, rooted in using technology for faster, more precise sewing.

“When people think of sewing, maybe they think of their grandmother making quilts,” he explained. “The type of sewing we do is very different. So we have that sewing machine here, and we’ll actually take it, depending on the application or the design. What is the best point for this application.

And the best point for Sunday? A preview of a B-21 in honor of the air show.

Sara H. Byrd