Skip to main content

Engineering and Science Festival

Engineering and Science Festival banner

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 families.

2020 Photo Gallery

Online registration for participants

  • Online Registration (closed)
  • 2020 Engineering & Science Festival flyer  (pdf )
  • Activities Map (pdf coming soon)
    Current Activities are tentative and may change.
    Activity locations (SUB, ENGR, MEC, HML, KIN, ERB )


  • 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.

Thank you…..
To our 2020 sponsors:

2020 sponsors
The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, Idaho Power, Micron | STEM, Verizon, HP, Suez, CapEd, Power Engineers


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



Make The Day Albertsons Library at Boise StateAll Ages (D) –Build, make, and play at Albertsons library. Engage with a variety of fun, inspiring, and educational activities for all ages. Drive robots, explore giant-sized 3D printers and learn about efforts to recycle plastics creatively. Families can learn how to code with a Sphero rolling robot, and make light-up circuits on paper.

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

  • Treasure Valley Photo BoothJordan Lobby11 am – 2 pm Get your photo taken with engineering and science props!

Simplot Ballroom – Interactive Presentations (I)

  • NEW A Comparison of Shuttle and Soyuz Missions by Steve Swanson, Boise State University10:00 am (60 minutes) All Ages, (I) Swanson 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.
  • NEW Alien Worlds, Boise State Physics Department – 11:30 am (45 minutes) All Ages, (I) – Can we find another Earth? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? If we do find another Earth, how will we decide whether or not it hosts life? If it hosts advanced life, how could we communicate with it? With the rapid pace of discovery within and outside our solar system, scientists are developing new and exciting answers to these questions. Boise State astronomer, Dr. Brian Jackson will explore the history and science behind planetary exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life.
  • Guinness World Record attempt by David Rush, David is one of the most prolific Guinness World Record Breakers in the World DavidRush4STEM.com2:00 pm (45 minutes) All Ages (I) – David has an electrical engineering degree from MIT and works at local technology company Cradlepoint. He has broken over 80 Guinness World Records promoting STEM education including 52 in 52 weeks of 2018. Watch as he shares his STEM story and the power of a Growth Mindset while juggling and balancing. The presentation will culminate with an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.

Jordan Ballroom – Open Demonstrations for ALL AGES (O)

  • NEW Geology Bingo, Girl Scouts of Silver Sage – Come learn how Girl Scouts do STEM
  • NEW Boise STEM, STEMstitute – Participate in fun activities and challenges to learn how Boise recreation (biking the Greenbelt, floating the Boise River), features (foothills, parks), and events (BSU football, concerts) are connected to STEM.
  • NEW Fun with Microscopes, Boise State Biology Club
  • NEW Beakerz Science – Hands-on fun through experiments
  • Ornithology Unleashed! Intermountain Bird Observatory – Meet some real-life Ornithologists and learn about the amazing creatures they study. That’s right, we’re talking about BIRDS! Stop by and try your hand at the new bird banding activity station. Have you ever wondered how far Long-billed Curlews fly, how much hummingbirds weigh or what makes owls fly so silently? Do you want to learn about bird conservation and what you can do to help birds avoid window strikes? Then you won’t want to miss this exciting 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) – Land Rovers are now remotely operated vehicles (ROV). Visitors will see how the BoRG makes underwater ROVs and how you can make them too!
  • High Altitude Balloons, NearSys – What can you do with $150 worth of balloon and helium? You can send experiments into near space! While conducting experiments in atmospheric and cosmic ray studies, remote sensing of the Earth’s surface, radio wave propagation, and astronomical and technological evaluations, we discover more about the world around us. 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.
  • Science Trek and PBS Kids! Idaho Public Television and PBS – Make your own rocket launcher with a plastic bag, a straw and a tube of paper.
  • NEW Real World Interactions with Software, HP YEN – Use Sphero robots to learn how programmers can connect and interact with the physical world through software.
  • Engineering for Kids – Explore a variety of STEM-tastic activities such as the flow of electricity, VEX IQ robots, and other hands-on activities! We bring STEM education to kids ages 4-14 in a fun and challenging way through after-school programs, camps, and workshops! We are proud to inspire children to build on their natural curiosity through hands-on learning.
  • NEW Geeko Labs – Spark your curiosity with after-school STEAM! Try out tools of the trade at our interactive tables, including Game Design, 3D Modeling, Audio Engineering, and more!
  • NEW Citizen Scientific Workshop – AR/VR and Robotics – Check out some of our latest robot prototypes for makers, and play in our virtual reality environment with fun interactive science demos.
  • Investigate Osmo, Get Set Inc. – Explore STEM-based system of games meant to introduce and teach kids the basics of coding on iPads. Learn about how you can engage in STEM activities and camps throughout the new year and into the summer.
  • 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.
  • 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 Team – Build your own rocket using fizzing tablets! Watch it lift off and see how high it can go!
  • 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.
  • NEW Experience (AR) and (VR) using real NASA models! Boise State NASA SUIT Team

Student Union Building Rooms – Drop-In or Scheduled

  • STEM in the City of Trees, City of BoiseHatch A (D) – City of Boise departments of IT, Library, Public Works and Parks and Recreation will be showcasing how science and technology is used across the City. Experience virtual reality and robots, map your flush to the water renewal facility, make a mylar map, and explore the science in your own backyard.
  • NEW Map Presentations, City of Boise(10 am, 10:30 am, 11 am, 11:30am, 1 pm, 1:30 pm, 2 pm, 2:30 pm) Hatch A (D) – Young cartographers can learn how maps are used to help run our City and the basics of a good map.
  • Meet Scout, Boise Police Department(10 am-12 pm) Hatch A (D) – The Boise Police mascot dog and learn about science and technology in the Boise Police Department.
  • Build a Super BristleBot Robot, Reuseum Educational, IncAges 5-14, Hatch B (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.
  • Earthquake Table and Tower Building, Treasure Valley Math and Science Center(10 am-11 am) Ages 5-14, Hatch D (D)
  • Ride a Segway, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at Boise StateAges 8-Adult, Hatch C (D) – Learn about the Segway, a self-balancing, personal transportation vehicle that uses computerized gyroscopes and tilt sensors to maintain balance and make riding fun!
  • Physics Demonstrations, Boise State Physics and Astronomy ClubCataldo (D)
  • NEW Flying in Circles, Rich Stowell ConsultingCapacity 18 (45 Minutes: 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm) Ages 12-Adult, Barnwell (S) – An experiential workshop centered on finding the speed of a rubber-band-powered balsa airplane around a pylon. Participants will measure time and distance to find speed, then apply what they’ve learned to some interesting aerospace problems.
  • NEW Explore Mechanical Engineering: Energy, Engineering for Kids(60 minutes: 11 am, and 1 pm) Ages 4-1, Brink (S) Students will investigate basic properties of motion, including kinetic and potential energy. This lesson provides a great glimpse into the wonderful world of wind-up toys!
  • Have Fun With STEM! STEM Educators’ Club, Boise State University, Boyington (D)


  • NEW Virtual Reality Row, Idaho Virtual Reality Council, Block Smith, and VR1 Arcade – Experience virtual reality using innovative headset technology.
  • NEW Boise Speedcubing Club, Learn about speed cubing with Rubik cubes, and a new organization in the Treasure Valley aimed at fun and competition
  • NEW Seven Senses of Sharks, Aquarium of Boise
  • NEW Modular Structural Framing and Tightening Systems, Bosch and Pacific Integrated Handling – Get hands-on experience with power tools and a framing demonstration kit.
  • What Can Drones Do? Rapid Aerial LLC – Learn about unmanned aerial vehicle technology, and observe a live drone flight demonstration!
  • Hydrologic Instrumentation Demonstration, USGS
  • NEW Build a Beam, Transportation YOU, WTS – Construct a beam under specific constraints, understand deflection and how to design structures for specific purposes.
  • Robots in Action, Treasure Valley FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Teams – Learn 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 many demonstrations including: Magnetic springs, magnetic elements of a hard disk drive, magnetic levitation, magnetic shape memory micro-pumping, and viewing magnetic fields.
  • Professional Land Surveying, Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors – Look through a total station, and learn about cool careers in land surveying.
  • Chemistry is Chool, Boise State Chemistry Club
  • Design within Constraints using LEGO Bricks, Idaho LEGO Users Group (ILUG)All Ages (D) – Build a tower with LEGO bricks in a fun and engaging way and see how you do under the constraints of time and material. There will be several rounds of competition during the day (roughly every hour) and awards will be posted after each round. The prizes are…you might have guessed…LEGO! You will be judged on height, number of bricks used, and stability. New for this year is age ranges. Kids ages 7 to 14 will be eligible for each round of the competition. Those 15 and older (yes, adults welcome) are entered in a Master Class with a major prize to be awarded at the end of the day. Even young kids are encouraged to post a score, and while they won’t be entered in rounds, there will be a surprise for them!


  • Dr. Picklestein vs. The Thing! Boise State Chemistry Dept. – Capacity 175 (45 minutes: 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm) All Ages, Room 110 (I) – Science is not just a bunch of facts but is instead a process of discovery used to learn about the world around us. It requires curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to risk being wrong in order uncover the answers to the questions that you may have. Dr. Picklestein and Lady Argentum will work with the audience to experiment with their new invention – The Thing. The audience can suggest experiments to try with The Thing and if safe, Dr. Picklestein and Lady Argentum will do the experiments. In addition to experimenting with The Thing, they will feature fan favorite chemical reactions and demonstrations. Come to learn, laugh, discover, and be amazed.
  • Extreme Weather Science, NOAA/National Weather ServiceCapacity 70 (45 Minutes: 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm) 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. Weather safety information will be provided in a fun and interactive way.
  • An Introduction to Computer Science Using Scratch, Idaho Technology CouncilCapacity 25 Ages: 8 and up, younger (6+) with Adult assistance, Room 111 (D) – Hands-on programming experience with the basics of Scratch.
  • Beyond the Looking Glass: Seeing at the Nanoscale, Boise State Materials Science and EngineeringAll 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 Micron School of Materials Science and EngineeringAges 8-Adult, Room 108 (D)
  • Infrared Cameras, Boise State Energy for SocietyAll Ages, Room 225 (D) – 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: 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm) 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.
  • Play with Keva Blocks, Discovery Center of IdahoAll Ages, 2nd Floor Atrium, (O)
  • Build a Bridge using West Point Bridge Design Software, Boise State Civil Engineering ClubCapacity 30 Ages 8-Adult, Room 238 (D) – Design a bridge utilizing software, and test to see if it would succeed or fail. Review the components of their bridge to make modifications.
  • Use Computer to Design Materials, Boise State Micron School of Materials Science and EngineeringAll Ages, Room 213 (D) – Learn how to use your own computer to build and design novel materials, such as DNA, semiconductor, metal, nanomaterials etc.
  • Jelly Bean Binary, Micron FoundationCapacity 25, (30 Minutes: 9am, 9:45 am, 10:30 am, 11:15 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:15 pm) 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.
  • Build and Eat an Edible Aquifer, Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society at Boise StateCapacity 40 (45 minutes: 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1pm, 2 pm, 3 pm) Ages 5-14, Room 313 (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.
  • Sustainable Energy and Materials, Boise State Micron School of Materials Science and EngineeringAges 8-14, Room 314 (D)


  • Tie Dye Chromatography, Micron FoundationCapacity 50 (45 min: 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm) 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 College30 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)
  • Snap Circuits, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boise State UniversityCapacity 30 Ages 5-14, Room 307 (D)
  • STEM made fun with LEGOs, National Society of Black Engineers, Boise State, Ages 5- 8, Room 309 – Explore early coding concepts such as sequencing, looping, and conditions using LEGO blocks and trains. Improve critical, problem solving, social, and decision making skills. Kids will be provided with a train, which they can control (make stop, pause, blow horn, or change direction) by placing action LEGO bricks on the train tracks which provide the kids with the ability to test and redesign ways to problem solve and work together to get the train to its destination. Legos will also be available to build simple machines. FUN! FUN! FUN!


  • NEW Build a Foil Boat, Society of Women Engineers at Boise StateAll Ages (O) – Explore engineering by building a foil boat to see how many pennies can be supported before your boat sinks.
  • 3D Printers in Action, Boise State College of Engineering
  • Wind Tunnel and Machine Shop, Mechanical Engineering Club – 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.


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