Future of Flight’s Family STEAM Night a big hit

Interactive exhibits and Star Wars steal the show
By Brandon Gustafson | Mar 21, 2018
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson Edmonds Community College’s Nate Goodman demonstrating which gases are flammable by exploding balloons with a blowtorch, much to the delight of children watching.

Parents, children, jedis and sith lords piled into the Future of Flight last Wednesday, March 14, for a night of hands-on interaction for the third annual Family STEAM Night.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, similar to the popular STEM acronym, and children in the Mukilteo area were able to learn about the future of aerospace at this free event.

According to Jody Hawkins, the marketing and social media director for the Institute of Flight, more than 1,000 people attended the event, and they had over 30 vendors as well.

In the middle of the show floor, jedi warriors from the Jet City Saber Guild, the Seattle-branch of the nationwide Saber Guild, which is a non-profit organization of custom Star Wars performers, showed attendees the proper way to use a lightsaber.

The jedis also showed children how to perform the “force push,” which helped save the jedis from attacking members of the sith and forced the sith to participate in photos with anyone in attendance as punishment.

Walking around the show floor, it wasn’t uncommon to duck or watch your step as children were testing the flying ability of their new model airplanes.

Jeff Van Dyck, executive director of the Institute of Flight, said he enjoyed seeing members of the Boy Scouts participating in various activities in order to get their STEM merit badge so they can advance in rank.

Nate Goodman, a STEM Student Support and Retention Specialist at Edmonds Community College, elicited “oohs” and “aahs” as he used balloons filled with various gases to show which gases are flammable and which are not.

Hawkins said another big hit with the young attendees was with one of the clubs from Mountlake Terrace High School.

“Mountlake Terrace High School had five clubs here, and one of them did stomp rockets, which all the kids loved,” Hawkins said.

Upstairs, the Pro Aerial League hosted a drone-racing course where people could view different racing drones, watch drones maneuver their obstacle course, and test virtual reality headsets that the drone racers use.

“Drone racing with Pro Aerial League was very popular,” Hawkins said.

There was always a long line for the Destiny exhibit, where attendees could walk inside a complete-to-scale mock-up of a space laboratory module that was connected to NASA’s International Space Station.

ifferent companies in the area hosted booths and exhibits at the event, including Electroimpact, an aerospace company headquartered in Mukilteo.

The owner and president, Peter Zieve, was happy to have his company represented at the STEAM Night and to hear of the large turnout.

Zieve said Electroimpact has plans of their own to get children involved in STEAM.

“We are also organizing a STEAM area inside of Electroimpact,” Zieve said. “This is an area where the children of employees can hang out and learn about technology. Even better would be to put it in every kid’s home. We also send our engineers out to assist all the local schools with STEAM. Kyle Fitzpatrick is assisting the robot program at Kamiak High School. Brian Hainey is assisting the robot program at Cavelero High School. We want to get this stuff as close to the kids as we possibly can.”


Don’t let the bad guys win! Performers from the Jet City Saber Guild showcasing their combat skills in front of lots of engaged children. (Photo by: Brandon Gustafson)
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