Area HeadStart programs and daycares had a chance to meet Santa and take part in STEM activities at the inaugural Crane Community Christmas on Tuesday.
According to Director of Business Operations for STIMULUS Engineering Kimberly Frazier, the day involved area Headstart programs and daycares getting to meet Santa Claus and take part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities.
“We invited about 300 kids from Linton, Bloomfield, Washington, Loogootee and Odon,” Frazier said. “We expected about 280 to come, as well as around 100 adults that include teachers and volunteers.”
Those in attendance took part in a variety of activities, all of which were geared for STEM.
“We had geoboards, tracks in the snow for the kids to learn about animal prints, a reading corner, hot chocolate and candy cane experiments, frozen bubbles, catapults, a drone, a marshmallow cannon, a reading corner and ‘Courtney Christmas’ with Hermie the Reindeer (from Silly Safari),” Frazier said.
Rob Hudson, the Statewide Workforce Advisor with Purdue University, taught those in attendance about air pressure, magnetics and motion energy.
“I was in charge of the catapults, jingle bell maze and the marshmallow cannon,” he said. “The kids loved the cannon, which uses air pressure to force out the marshmallow. It definitely made some noise when we would shoot it out.”
According to Hudson, the goal of the day was to introduce the kids in attendance to entry-level STEM projects.
“My projects involved science and physics, and we wanted to introduce them at a young age,” he said.
The event was sponsored by a variety of businesses, including but not limited to Greene County’s Battery Innovation Center, WestGate Academy, STIMULUS Engineering and Crane Credit Union.
“The BIC stepped up and really helped with people, time and effort,” Frazier said.
Ben Wrightsman, the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Engineer of BIC, said BIC got involved in an effort to give back to the community.
“We were involved with planning and constructing the structures (at the Community Christmas),” he said. “With it being Christmas time, there’s just the human nature of giving. We also wanted to expose the kids to opportunities in STEM early.”
Frazier added the event was a success.
“It went great,” she said. “We had the best volunteers and help. Based on the kids’ reactions, we really want to do it again.”
Hudson and Wrightsman both said their respected organizations will be returning for future events with WestGate@Crane, such as Get Outdoors Day and the CTE Summit.