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Santiago Canyon College event aims to show that science can be fun

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In celebration of all things science, Santiago Canyon College is hosting its annual Community Science Night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 19. Open to the public, this free event offers the opportunity for students to explore ways to engage with STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

The on-campus event will feature more than 50 planned exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities that incorporate a variety of interactive STEAM concepts. While the activities are primarily geared for elementary and middle school students, SCC’s Community Science Night is open to all ages.

“We want the community to know that anyone can do science,” said SCC associate professor and Earth Science Department chair Angela Daneshmand. “It’s really great to see grandparents, parents and children engage with the activities at our event together. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.”

Santiago Canyon College’s annual Community Science Night will feature a “Star Wars” theme. (Courtesy of Angela Daneshmand)

The annual event will feature more than 50 exhibits, demonstrations and
hands-on activities for all ages. Photos from a previous Science Night. (Courtesy of Angela Daneshmand)

Santiago Canyon College’s upcoming Science Night encourages students to
engage in STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and math. (Courtesy of Angela Daneshmand)



Last year’s theme was “Science Night Strikes Back” as the event returned for the first time following the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Star Wars” theme was such a success that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and the Stormtroopers will be back again this year to welcome students and their families, with a possible appearance by Darth Vader himself.

From marshmallow launchers and optical illusions to Lego building and boat design contests, each activity and demonstration featured at Community Science Night is geared toward introducing students to STEAM disciplines in fun and interactive ways. Many of the activities include items for the kids to take home, all with the goal of demystifying science and making it more approachable.

“Elementary school is really when students either love science or they get scared of science,” Daneshmand said. “This could be due to the teachers or just their experience with the content, and so I think that it’s so important to engage their interest (in science) at a young age in a fun way.”

Longtime partners with SCC in Community Science Night, Orange Unified School District will host several of the activities and demonstrations. In a newer partnership, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District will be in attendance as well and will host several activities to inspire students to design and innovate.

Student volunteers from SCC and Cal State Fullerton will be on hand to help facilitate various interactive experiments, with many of the students on the path to becoming future science teachers.

“This is a great service learning event for (the college students),” Daneshmand said, “and it serves as one of their capstone projects for the year.”

Local community partners that will host activities and demonstrations include the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, Irvine Ranch Water District, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Amigos de Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy and the UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences.

In addition to all things science, the night will include live music and food trucks on site for guests to purchase and enjoy dinner and beverages while they explore.

Introducing students to STEAM concepts at a young age can not only spark curiosity but can also lay the groundwork for critical thinking, problem-solving and the development of analytical skills, all of which are essential for success in any career field, Daneshmand said.

But there is no doubt that STEAM education remains at the forefront, as real-world applications in the areas of technology, environmental sustainability and health care continue to be in high demand in today’s job market, she said.

Whether the kids want to explore the greenhouse and plant some seeds, try their hand at animal dissection or learn more about planets, stars and galaxies far, far away, Community Science Night aims to instill a love of learning and make science fun.

“Some students think science is scary, and they put off taking science until the very end,” Daneshmand said. “So, we hope we can reach out to those students sooner and show them that it’s not scary, it’s actually a lot of fun. I think that makes a huge difference in the number of science majors that we see and goes toward filling those open positions in STEAM careers and industry fields in the future.”

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