boy looks on in wonder
Cool Science Company Gets Kids Excited about Science

Cool Science is about making science less daunting and more intriguing (read “cool”) for kids. Why? Here are three important facts: STEM expertise is critical for acquiring a decent job in this high-tech world. You’ve got to have a good handle on STEM to get ahead. The other fact? Our public schools aren’t able to devote enough time to STEM subjects, leaving kids woefully ignorant of what they need to know to get into a good school after high school graduation, and later, to have any hope of acquiring gainful employment.

The third point? Kids tend to think of science and math as boring subjects enjoyed only by nerds. Piquing their interest in STEM subjects by making science cool, means more kids will be motivated to pursue STEM studies and a STEM-related career. That’s important, because STEM is the future, and we need more workers and researchers in the field.

Finally, science really can be fun and exciting. That’s something Cool Science is amply demonstrating for children and their families through hands-on STEM enrichment. We put some questions to Cool Science Board Member Patti Weber for this (hopefully) cool small grant interview, to learn more about the work of getting kids revved up about STEM:

Kars4Kids: Tell us something about your demographic. Where do you serve? Who benefits from what you offer?

Patti Weber: We serve any K-8th school or library that requests a program, mostly eastern Colorado, and never turn away any because they can’t pay for a program.

group activity cool science company

Kars4Kids: When was Cool Science founded and why? Who founded the organization?

Patti Weber: Cool Science was founded in 2002 by Jennifer Rivers to provide hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) enrichment for local schools, particularly K-5th grades which often receive little to no hands-on science in class.

activity 2 girls gloved woman

Kars4Kids: It sounds like Cool Science is a kind of traveling show. In fact, you have many different types of “shows.” Can you give us an overview of your demonstration shows? How do they work?

Patti Weber: Our science shows are designed to demonstrate important concepts in (mostly) chemistry and physics in a fun and entertaining way, engaging the students interactively while supplementing what they are learning in class. We often set fire and blow stuff up to get kids excited about science and inspire them to learn more.

girl with goggles scientists

Kars4Kids: You often put on activity nights with hands-on science activity tables. Can you describe some of the tables you’ve put together? Who attends these evenings?

Patti Weber: Schools often host fun Science and STEM/STEAM (adding “A” for Art) Nights for their parents and families, where we can provide hands-on activities like making slime or color changing “potions,” building catapults, hovercrafts or stomp rockets, levitating objects with electrostatic forces, creating fog bubbles and vibrations with dry ice, using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream or Dippin’ Dots, experimenting with light and color, electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, and much more.

little one with mom

Kars4Kids: Can you talk about Cool Science “directed activities?” What are some examples of these activities and what makes them “directed?”

Patti Weber: We offer a variety of hands-on laboratory experiments that complement the concepts demonstrated in our shows for middle school as well as upper elementary grades. These often require measurements and analysis as well as skills that may not be suitable for younger students. “Directed Activities” are typically simpler versions of many of these lab activities that focus on just one or two more qualitative aspects, with volunteers helping younger students. Examples include making slime catapults or straw stomp rockets (the same activities we often present for Science and STEM Nights).

objects fly

Kars4Kids: Talk to us about “Science Busking.” That sounds like so much fun!

Patti Weber: Science Busking refers to informal pop-up events where we set up a tent in a park, shopping mall or downtown pedestrian area and present free science demonstrations and hands-on science activities for kids as families stroll by.

Girl with siphon Cool Science Company

Kars4Kids: What is a mini fruitcake toss?

Patti Weber: The Kid’s Mini Fruitcake Toss accompanies Manitou Springs Great Fruitcake Toss, a different take on Punkin’ Chunkin’ competitions. Kids build their own mini wooden catapult to fling marshmallows and mini fruitcake pieces.

girl amazed

Kars4Kids: Can you tell us about Carnival Day?

Patti Weber: Cool Science Carnival Day features 100+ free science shows, performances, lab tours and hands-on STEAM activities for kids presented by Cool Science along with dozens of participating companies, nonprofits, clubs, professional societies, schools, museums, and other organizations. It’s the kick-off event for the 16-day Colorado Springs Cool Science Festival, featuring over 70 STEAM-related events for all ages. The 2023 Carnival Day was attended by over 7,000 kids and family members. You can find much more info on our website, .

boys pop balloons cool science activity

Kars4Kids: You have a collaboration going with the National Space Science & Technology Institute’s Mobile Earth & Space Observatory. We’d love to hear about that. What kind of science travels well, anyway?

Patti Weber: The Mobile Earth & Space Observatory (MESO) is a large custom modified RV that opens to expose several telescopes and many other hands-on science activities focused on space and Earth science. We often travel with MESO, bringing our own activities to schools, libraries, and special events. We’ll be in Texas with MESO for the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse. You can find more info at .

Boy with siphon Cool Science Company

Kars4Kids: What’s next for the Cool Science?

Patti Weber: Keep getting better at what we’re doing now, adding more fun STEAM shows and activities to our repertoire. We would like to hire another full or part time staff member to allow us to do more school and library programs.

Girls look at test tubes Cool Science Company

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