Volunteers from Dallas SWE and Fort Worth SWE rolled out their first outreach event sponsored by NASA’s Summer of Innovation Program at Moon Day this year. Nandika D’Souza coordinated our presence at Moon Day with event organizer Ken Murphy at the Frontiers of Flight Museum near Love Field in Dallas. This event, held on Saturday, July 20, commemorated the 44th anniversary of the first moon landing. Also in attendance were a great variety of organizations involved in astronomy, astrophysics, aviation, and engineering. It was a great day for families to come and learn about the moon and how scientists and engineers work together to explore our solar system and beyond!
The Dallas SWE booth was located prominently below the museum’s big American Flag, hung from their second story balcony in the large atrium. Visitors to our table were invited to learn about electronic circuits and create some of their own using 9-volt batteries, resistors, potentiometers, speakers, and LEDs. Approximately 120 children enjoyed our hands-on activity! We informed the children and their parents about how important it is for astronauts to use their limited power resources wisely while in space. Girl Scouts who visited our booth also answered a few questions about basic physics, engineering, and astronomy principles in order to earn their “Engineering” badge in the STEM series of badges.
The fact that this was an open event inclusive to all ages, girls and boys, gave our Dallas SWE section a great opportunity to talk to the community about our organization and other outreach opportunities we have throughout the year. Many of our visitors had never heard of the Society of Women Engineers!
Later in the afternoon, the always enthusiastic Letia Blanco and her fellow Raytheon volunteers hosted another hands-on activity with a smaller group in one of the Flight Museum’s classrooms. Letia gave an exciting and informative presentation about some of the rockets Raytheon has helped NASA develop and the kids then got to color, cut out, and assemble their own model X-plane to perform some test flights, just like real engineers! The kids loved customizing their rockets and Letia’s ebullient personality even got the adults in the room excited about engineering development and test cycles. Thanks to all the Raytheon employees and Dallas SWE volunteers who helped with this special session!
Dallas SWE has been welcomed back to Moon Day next year, so if you missed out, be on the lookout for this and other opportunities to get involved in your community in FY 2014!