Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

Hundreds of young inventors gathered Aug. 2 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the second annual YMCA Thingamajig Invention Convention, a hands-on science fair to promote educational interest in courses focused on S.T.E.A.M., or Science, Tech, Engineering, Art and Math.

“Today we are celebrating Thingamajig,” said YMCA board member Lisa Massicott-Ndal. “This is a great collaboration with sponsors coming in being part of this amazing adventure for kids.”

Part science fair, part festival, the YMCA’s Thingamajig Invention Convention gathers children from all backgrounds together to meet experts, try their hands at something new, view demonstrations, work on individual and team challenges, and get inspired to create their next big idea.

Prior to the event, hundreds of children participated in the Thingamajig’s S.T.E.A.M. pre-challenges with the most innovative solutions to modern problems winning special recognition and prizes.

Studies show that younger kids get less than 15 minutes of science per day during the school year and almost no real-world hands-on creative problem-solving engineering activities. Janice Williams of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington created the Thingamajig Invention Convention 29 years ago to “unlock kids’ ‘maker’ creativity and real-world problem-solving skills.” YMCAs across the nation now hold their own Thingamajig challenges and events to ensure children of all backgrounds have access to engaging and inspiring S.T.E.A.M. activities.

Alexandria event partners include The United States Patent & Trademark Office and The Federal Aviation Administration. Sponsors were Delta Airlines, Washington Gas, Google, and Eat For Change.