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FREE Admission

Come and go anytime between 9am-4pm, we suggest you come early to get the best of the Engineering & Science Festival

Engineering & Science Festival is a FREE event for all ages with a wide variety of engaging activities designed for K-12 students and their family.
Online registration for participants

Free one-day bus passes will be available for this event.  Call 258-2702 or email to request bus pass(es). (These passes are good for ValleyRide bus services within the city of Boise on Saturday.) Passes will be available starting Monday, January 15th and the last day to request bus passes is noon on Tuesday, January 30th. Passes will be mailed to requestors.  Please indicate the number of passes needed – adult and student (ages 6-18). Children under age 6 ride for free.”


  • FOOD is not provided.  Bring a sack lunch or plan on visiting the Student Union Building, or Broadway vendors for refreshments.
  • No registration required to attend the Engineering and Science Festival, but some scheduled activities require that you sign up at the activity location.
  • With more than 40 activities it’s impossible to do everything.
  • Please see the list of activities and plan your day in advance.
  • Sessions filled on a first come basis.  Five ways to participate:  Sign Up (SU**) (sign up at activity location);  Scheduled (S) (activities have specific beginning and end times); Drop-In (D); Open Demonstrations (O); Interactive Science Shows (I).  Ages listed are suggested, but not required.

STUDENT UNION BUILDING (SUB) – Food Vendors Open on First Floor

  • – All Ages, Parked Outside (D) – Explore the interactive STEM bus featuring hands-on activities including virtual reality, circuitry, robotics, and more!
  • Treasure Valley Photo Booth – Jordan Lobby – Get your photo taken with fun science and engineering props!!

Simplot Ballroom – STEM Moon Shot, Idaho LEGO Users Group and IDEABRICKWORKS 

  • Design within Constraints using LEGO Bricks – Engineers and scientists work to investigate and solve problems every day. They work within constraints of technology, time, access, funding, knowledge, and oh so many things. But that is not a limitation, it is part of the reward. Come and build a tower with LEGO bricks in a fun and engaging way and see how you do under the constraints of time and material. We will be having several rounds of this competition during the day and awards will be provided after each round. And the prizes are…you might have guessed…LEGO! You will build a tower with LEGO and be judged on height, number of bricks used, and stability. The secret is balancing those constraints to form YOUR winning solution!
  • NEW Saturn V Moon Rocket – Contribute to the build of an 11.5 foot tall model of the Saturn V moon rocket. This activity uses LEGO as engagement and celebration of space.
  • NEW Micro Build – Make a small version of the Saturn V that uses custom stickers as a way to remember the learning and fun of the day.
  • NEW Mosaic
  • NEW Moc Display
  • NASA Ames Research Center
  • NEW NASA LEGO display

Hatch Ballroom – Interactive Presentations

  • NEW The Martian Movie analyzed by Retired NASA Astronaut, Boise State University, All Ages,10:00am (60 minutes) (I) – NASA’s retired astronaut has flown 2 shuttle flights, STS-117 in 2007 and STS-119 in 2009, and launched to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition in 2014. Learn what parts of the movie are possible, plausible, and those that just defy the laws of physics.
  • NEW Summoning Devils in the Desert, Boise State Physics DepartmentAll Ages, 11:30am (45 minutes) (I) – Dust devils are small, dust-carrying vortices that occur ubiquitously on Mars, where they may pose a hazard for human exploration. Professor Brian Jackson of Boise State’s Physics Dept. will discuss his field work to study these phenomena, which includes flying an instrumented drone through active dust devils. This presentation is available at
  • World’s Fastest Juggler Attempts another Guinness World Record,, All Ages, 2:00pm (60 minutes) (I) – David Rush is an MIT graduate and local technology professional who has broken over 30 Guinness World Records promoting STEM education. Come watch and listen as he shares his STEM story and demonstrates the power of having a Growth Mindset while juggling, balancing, and performing seemingly impossible feats. The presentation will culminate with a live attempt to break another Guinness World Record for most times to hit a target with foam-bullets in 1 minute (i.e. Nerf Gun).

Jordan Ballroom – Open Demonstrations for ALL AGES (D)

  • Imagine STEM, Girl Scouts of Silver Sage and Meridian unBound – Come learn how Girl Scouts do STEM and try out fun hands-on activities.
  • Ornithology Unleashed! Intermountain Bird Observatory – Meet some real life Ornithologists and learn about the creatures they study. That’s right, we’re talking about birds! How much does a hummingbird weigh? How does an owl see in the dark? How far can a Long-billed Curlew fly? Learn all this and more at the Intermountain Bird Observatory’s interactive touch-table.
  • Radio Demonstration, HP Amateur Radio Club – It’s not your father’s Amateur Radio! We cover the world and even space with voice, data and images…. Learn how much you depend on radio and may not even know it. At the top of each hour participate in hands on experiments that illustrate the magic of how radio works.
  • Robots and Land Rovers, The Boise Robotics Group (BoRG) – Learn how the BoRG makes and programs their robots and how you can do the same.
  • High Altitude Balloons, NearSys – What can you do with $150 worth of balloon and helium? You can send experiments into near space! See how missions are performed and how students can do experiments in this close analog to outer space.
  • Fun with Engineering! Idaho National Laboratory – Experience hands-on STEM activities using an electric Van de Graff to create static electricity, a hand-crank powered generator to power two different types of light bulbs, programming Ozobots, hand-made rockets, and experiencing the Bernoulli Principle.
  • PBS Kids Design Squad Global! Idaho Public Television and PBS
  • NEW Squish Circuits, HP – Uses conductive and insulating play dough to learn the basics of electrical circuits in a fun, hands-on way.
  • NEW Engineering for Kids – Come explore a variety of STEM-tastic activities such as the flow of electricity, VEX IQ robots, straw rocket launching and more! We bring STEM education to ages 4-14 in a fun and challenging way through after school programs, camps and workshops!
  • NEW Investigate Osmo, Get Set Inc. – Explore STEM based system of games meant to introduce and teach kids the basics of coding on iPads.
  • Archaeology of Human Bones, Boise State Anthropology Dept. – Learn about the bones of the skeleton and how archaeologists study them to learn about past peoples.
  • The Future of Fungineering, Creative Technologies Association Showcase, Boise State University – Learn about cutting-edge technology and how it can be used to create new forms of multimedia entertainment experiences for audiences of all sizes.
  • STEM Through the Lens of Aviation, Idaho Division of AeronauticsLearn about development and fostering of Idaho’s system of airports and active aviation community, and the annual ACE Academy and Aviation Art Contests.
  • Virtual Reality Experience, Boise State Space Broncos – Explore the ocean or outer space with our virtual reality headsets and learn how virtual reality is used to train astronauts!
  • Chemistry is Chool, Boise State Chemistry Club
  • Fins, Furs, and Feathers Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge – How well do you know your Idaho wildlife? Visit this interactive touch-table to test your wildlife ID skills, learn about some of the critters that call southwest Idaho home, keep resources in “balance” as you play Ecosystem Jenga.
  • Build a Bubble-Powered Rocket! Boise State Microgravity TeamBuild your own rocket using fizzing tablets! Watch it lift off and see how high it can go!
  • NEW Littlebots 3D Printed Robots, Slant Concepts
  • Language Sciences, Linguistics Lab at Boise State University – Come learn about the scientific study of language – linguistics – through activities sponsored by the Mary Ellen Ryder Linguistics Lab at Boise State.

Student Union Building Rooms – Drop-In or Scheduled

  • Build a Super BristleBot Robot, Reuseum Educational, Inc.Ages 5-14, Farnsworth (D) – Use ordinary materials including popsicle sticks, micro motors, batteries, toothbrushes and googly eyes and turn them into self-powered little robots that kids can build and take home.
  • Physics Demonstrations, Boise State Physics and Astronomy Club – Cataldo (D)
  • Earthquake Table and Tower Building, Treasure Valley Math and Science Center – Ages 5-14, Trueblood (D)
  • Ride a Segway, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at Boise StateAges 8-Adult, Ah Fong (D) – Learn about the Segway, a selfbalancing, personal transportation vehicle that uses computerized gyroscopes and tilt sensors to maintain balance and make riding fun!
  • NEW Explore Civil Engineering with Marshmallow Bridges, Engineering for Kids – (10am-11am) Ages 4-14, Alexander (S) – Participants will use the Engineering Design Process to design, build, and test a truss-style marshmallow bridge. This hands-on and fun-filled workshop is an introduction to the understanding of basic bridge construction
  • Have Fun With STEM! STEM Educators’ Club, Boise State University, Boyington (D)
  • NEW Meet the Professionals, Idaho Section of the American Water Resources Association – (30 Minutes) Brink (D)  Science and Engineering is a lot of fun, but how do you make it a career? Here’s a chance to hear the stories of people working as scientists and engineers. You will hear how they chose their profession, what they do on an average day, and what have they learned along the way. Come hear the story of their journeys.
  • Help a Pilot Glide to Safety: Paper Airplanes! Rich Stowell Consulting – Capacity 40 (45 Minutes: 10am, 11am, 1pm) Ages 13-Adult,  Barnwell (S) – This is a fun, experiential workshop. Working in teams, participants will conduct experiments to find the glide ratio and glide angle of a simple balsa glider. Participants will then help a pilot determine the glide performance of a real airplane!


  • Family STEAM Day, Albertsons Library at Boise StateAll Ages (D) – Engage with a variety of fun STEAM-based toys and activities for all ages. Build with blocks of all shapes and sizes. Play with robot toys, including Code-a-pillars and Ozobots. Create with straws & connectors, Knex, and MagnaTiles. Families can pick up a free STEAM-themed book to take home.

KINESIOLOGY BUILDING (OLD GYM) -  Open Demonstrations (O) for ALL AGES

  • NEW Experience Virtual Reality, Idaho Virtual Reality Council
  • What Can Drones Do? Rapid Aerial LLC – Learn about unmanned aerial vehicle technology, and observe a live drone flight demonstration!
  • NEW Hydrologic Instrumentation Demonstration, USGS
  • NEW Careers in Aviation, Treasure Valley Community College – TVCC’s Aviation Science program provides hands-on pilot training to ensure you’re up and flying right away with the right stuff.
  • NEW Core Sampling, Transportation You, WTS – Drill for a core sample and learn about different types of soils and their characteristics
  • Robots in Action, Treasure Valley FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) TeamsLearn about these exciting programs and competitions for students from kindergarten through and high school!
  • Pinewood Derby Track, Oregon Trails
  • Seatbelt Demonstration, Federal Highway Administration – Live demonstration highlighting the importance of wearing your seatbelt.
  • Magnetics of Materials Science, Boise State Materials Science Club – Explore six demonstrations including: Super conducting levitation, magnetic springs, magnetic elements of a hard disk drive, magnetic levitation, magnetic shape memory micro-pumping, and power generation.
  • Professional Land Surveying, Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors – Look through a total station, and learn about cool careers in land surveying.


  • Atoms, Molecules, and Mayhem! Boise State Chemistry Dept.(45 minutes: 10am, 12pm, 2pm) All Ages  Room 110 (I) – Dr. Picklestein and Lady Argentum will be demonstrating the amazing properties of chemicals. They will feature their favorite chemical reactions and some of their favorite properties of the elements. Explosions, combustions, and magic changes galore! Come to learn, laugh, and be amazed..
  • NEW Volts and Jolts, Discovery Center of Idaho – 1pm and 3pm (45 minutes) All Ages, Room 110   (I)
  • Extreme Weather Science, NOAA/National Weather Service – Capacity 70, (45 Minutes: 9:30, 10:30,11:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00) Ages 10-Adult, Room 103  (S) – Meteorologists will discuss the science of extreme weather in the context of a “Weather Jeopardy” game. Two teams will compete to be the Weather Jeopardy Champions and various scientific weather demonstrations will be conducted during the course of the game.
  • An Introduction to Computer Science Using Scratch, Idaho Technology Council – Capacity 25 Ages: 8 and up, younger (6+) with Adult assistance, Room 111 (D) – Hands-on programming experience with the basics of Scratch, and learn about careers and education in the field of Computer Science.
  •  Beyond the Looking Glass: Seeing at the Nanoscale, Boise State Materials Science and Engineering – All Ages, Room 104 (D) – Learn how scientists and engineers “see” things too small to be seen in an optical microscope!
  • Bugs Under a Microscope! Boise State Materials Science & EngineeringAges 8 – Adult, Room 108 (D)
  • Infrared Cameras, Boise State Energy for Society – Room 225 (D) – We will provide demonstrations using a number of IR (Infrared) cameras. Experience the ability to see heat and cold. Have your IR picture taken and email it to yourself.
  • Build and Eat an Edible Aquifer, Department of Environmental Quality and SUEZCapacity 30 (45 minutes: 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm) Ages 5-14, Room 215 (SU**) – Learn how ground water is stored in aquifers, how what we do can affect our groundwater and drinking water, and how good engineering helps keep our water clean.
  • Programming with Blockly, Boise State ACM-WAges 8-Adult, Room 213 (D)
  • Play with Keva Blocks, Discovery Center of Idaho 2nd Floor Atrium, All Ages, (O)
  • Build a Bridge using West Point Bridge Design Software, Boise State Civil Engineering ClubAges 8-Adult, Room 228, Capacity 30 (D) – Design a bridge utilizing software, and test to see if it would succeed or fail. Participants can review the components of their bridge to make modifications and improvements.
  •  Build a Mini-Hovercraft, Society of Women Engineers at Boise State – All Ages, 3rd Floor Atrium (O) – Explore engineering by building your own hovercraft.
  • NEW Meet the BLM Raptors, Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area(30 Minutes: 10am, 11pm, and 12pm) All Ages, Room 313 (S) – Enjoy a wild, educational presentation with live Raptor Ambassadors, and learn about conservation of your public lands.
  • Jelly Bean Binary, Micron FoundationCapacity 25 (30 Minutes: 9am, 9:45 am, 10:30am, 11:15am, 12noon, 1pm, 1:45 pm, 2:30pm, 3:15pm) Ages 5-10, Room 335 (S) – Learn the language of computers. Learn how the computer uses binary code and how to encode and decode with it. Then, using “1s”, “0s”, and jelly beans you will be able to write your name in binary code.
  • Sustainable Energy and Materials, Boise State Materials Science and EngineeringAges 8-14, Room 314 (D)
  • How to Use Your Laptop to Design New Materials, Boise State Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering – All Ages, ENGR 336 (D) – Can you use your own computer to design a new material for desired applications? Yes, you can. This activity will demonstrate how to use advanced computer modeling tools to design your own materials. Come play with atomic structures, nanomaterials, and 3D molecules, and to design your own materials for next generation.


  • Tie Dye Chromatography, Micron FoundationCapacity 50 (45 min: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm) Ages 5-14, Room 106 (S) – Use permanent markers to experiment with the concepts related to chromatography and color separation.
  • Catapult Launch, Boise State Engineering and Innovation College – 30 minutes Ages 5-14, Room 114 (D) – Design and build a catapult using spoons, popsicle sticks, and tape. Test your design on a tower of cups!
  • Ride a Segway, IEEE Club Boise State(As space permits, wait in line) Ages 8-Adult, Room 201 (O)
  • Build and Eat an Edible Aquifer, Tau Lambda Rho Civil Engineering Honor Society at Boise StateCapacity 30 (45 minutes: 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm) (SU**) Ages 5-14, Room 309 – Learn how ground water is stored in aquifers, how what we do can affect our groundwater and drinking water, and how good engineering helps keep our water clean.
  • Snap Circuits, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boise State UniversityCapacity 30 Ages 5-14, Room 307 (D)


  • NEW Science and Technology at the City of Boise, City of Boise – Several departments from the City of Boise will be showcasing how science and technology is used across the City. Activities are being conducted by Public Works, Library, and Information Technology. Topics include geothermal technology, watershed management, 3-D printing, robotics, geographical information sciences and a variety of other technologies that help run our city. (D)
  • NEW Experience Virtual Reality, Boise Public LibraryRoom 110
  • NEW Meet Scout, Boise Police Department(10:00am-12:00pm) Room 109 – The Boise Police mascot dog and learn about science and technology in the Boise Police Department
  • Outdoor Science Exploration, McCall Outdoor Science School – Experience the intersection engineering and field science with wildfire simulation boxes, avalanche modeling, and animal tracking demonstrations.
  • Wind Tunnel and Machine Shop, Boise State College of Engineering – Experience the breeze of a wind tunnel which tests aerodynamic shapes, lift and drag, how models of buildings behave in wind, and how air flows around scale models
  • Solar Go-Kart Display, Greenspeed Research Inc


  • Explosive Eruptions with the Liquid Nitrogen Volcano Experiment, Boise State Geosciences(10am, 10:30, 11am, 11:30am, 12noon, 12:30, 1pm, 1:30pm) All Ages, Outside courtyard behind ERB, (O)
  • Tree cores and fire-scarred wood, Boise State Geosciences(9:30 – 2:00 PM) All Ages, Lobby (O)
  • Hands-on Volcano Experiments, Boise State Geosciences(9:30 – 2:00 PM) All Ages, Lobby (O)
  • Greenhouse Gas Tag: Gamesstart at (10:45, 11:15, 11:45, and 12:15) outside the ERB near the volcano demo.

2018 Photo Gallery

Engineering and Science Festival Stats 2018


“This event was amazing.  There was so much to do, my kids were captivated all day long!!”

“We had such a great time.  My daughter (7) says “there are things here I never even knew existed!”  Thank you.”

“So much fun! Thank you guys for doing this for our kids!”

“We had a wonderful time yesterday learning.  Thank you.”

“Great event!  Thanks so much!”


  • 1400 Bristle Bots were made
  • 900 water bottles given away at STEMBusUSA
  • 500 watched Dr. Picklestein and Lady Argentum
  • 700 mini hovercrafts made by SWE
  • 500 visited the Albertsons Library
  • 75 Girl Scouts earned their Engineering & Science Festival pin
  • 162 edible aquifers were made

Thank you…..
To our 2018 sponsors:

Image of sponsor logos

To the 75 VOLUNTEERS who facilitate the activities, welcome
and direct visitors, and help make Engineering and Science Festival a success!