SCI Blog

At the Science Center of Iowa, our goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals of all ages come to explore science and technology.

To continue the learning outside our building, we bring you the SCI blog! Our knowledgeable staff, along with special guests and local scientists, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at SCI activities, in-depth information about science events and STEM connections in the Des Moines area.

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  • Building our Future Brick by Brick

    Pairing 10 spectaular LEGO®-built artictectural structures with immersive hands-on building challenges, our new permanent exhibit, Brick by Brick, showcases how architects and engineers push the limits of design to make the seemingly impossible possible. 

    It is obvious when you walk into the exhibit that we are doing things a little differently. Engaging visitors, adults and children alike, with real-life problem solving and unconventional building challenges, Brick by Brick is a representation of a larger strategy SCI is taking to engage visitors and help make the connection between the inspiring exhibits at SCI and the real world. 

    No pun intended, we are building on the foundation of our mission. If you ever need to take a break and feel inspired, all you have to do is walk through Brick by Brick to see excited kids and adults learning about the design process: designing structures and adapting when they fail. The laughter and energy that radiates reaches almost everywhere in the building! Adults pulling themselves up on the pulleys, children frantically building their structures before the clock goes off on the shaker table, families talking over the enormous Golden Gate Bridge structure, pointing to various facets of the design... You can see the wheels working as children grasp concepts architecture, design and engineering.

    That is the future of Brick by Brick, the future of SCI. We are growing physically, and we are taking a leading role in growing the next generation of STEM professionals. We know it only takes one experience to inspire someone and give them the idea, the hope that they could be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, the next person to help design the greatest architectural feat. We are so grateful to help bridge that gap between inspiration and engagement. 

    We are grateful for opportunities to expand our work and our impact beyond our building, to change the way we impact our visitors and to help make connections to everyday life. Every day, we celebrate the power of science, the opportunities inherent in failure and what we are able to learn from our visitors who challenge us to grow, expand and innovate.

  • Women in STEM starts with Girls in Science

    Women currently make up roughly half of the U.S. workforce but represent only 26 percent of STEM professionals.

    A gender disparity exists in STEM-related fields. Although the need for workers in STEM fields is growing, girls are less likely to consider pursuing this path. Furthermore, the wage gap between women and men is much smaller in STEM occupations. Women earn $0.92 for every $1.00 earned by men, compared to $0.77 across the workforce.

    As leaders in STEM education, we feel it important to do something about this disparity. Our Girls in Science Initiative empowers girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math. Each event includes an opportunity for girls to meet and connect with female STEM professionals and learn about their careers. 

    One out of four female students report their greatest challenges in attending college are confidence, motivation or support, and only 4% of female students interested in pursuing STEM careers were encouraged to do so by a mentor. We know that mentors make a huge impact in helping females gain the confidence to pursue their dreams. That is why, as an organization, we are doing everything we can to usher in the next generation of female scientists.

    Throughout the year, we have events that foster these relationships and help girls envision themselves in STEM careers. Meals with Mentors is an incredible event where coders, doctors, researchers, engineers, mathmaticians, scientists and STEM undergraduates connect one-on-one with girls in grades 7-12. Participants share dinner, participate in group challenges and hear from a female STEM leader. This year, in conjunction with our new exhibit, Brick by Brick, the keynote speaker is a transportation engineer who will speak to the challenges and opportunities inherent in pursuing a career in engineering. 

    We know we can shape the future generation of women in STEM by inspiring them as children. When a child is encouraged and given the tools to succeed, they can be the next Marie Curie or Jane Goodall.  Our goal is to encourage every child who dreams of being a ground-breaking scientist, technology genius, aerospace engineer or mathematician and to foster that hope and help shape it into reality.

    You can support Girls in Science events like Meals with Mentors by encouraging girls you know to attend, being a mentor to others and sponsoring initiatives that break down barriers, encouraging everyone to have a passion and interest in STEM careers.