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Youths explore science at STEM-O-RAMA

Evan Kamaris, 10, of North Aurora, elevates to launch a stomp rocket he built Saturday at Stem-O-Rama at the Kane County Fairgrounds.
Evan Kamaris, 10, of North Aurora, elevates to launch a stomp rocket he built Saturday at Stem-O-Rama at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

ST. CHARLES –Evan Kamaris of North Aurora stomped on the plastic pop bottle as hard as he could, propelling the rocket he had just made high up into the air.

The 10-year-old was surprised his rocket went as high as it did.

"I didn't think it could go that high," Evan said. "I added extra tape for it to fly straighter."

Boy Scouts from Troop 46 of Lily Lake taught Evan and others how to make their own air powered bottle rockets at Saturday's first-ever STEM-O-RAMA presented by the Three Fires Council and held at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Troop 46 Scoutmaster Jeff Baeder, who teaches high school science, said he was happy to see the Three Fires Council put on STEM-O-RAMA.

"I think it is a great idea to have all the hands on activities and explore what can be done and be challenged by it," Baeder said. "It's also nice for them to see some of the jobs they can do in the field of science."

Lucas Blair, 10, of Cub Scout Pack 112 in Batavia, was having fun playing with a robot spider and making it go in different directions.

"You can make it go wherever you want," Lucas said.

Cub Scout Pack 355 of Glendale Heights gave those who came out to STEM-O-RAMA the chance to make their own robots. J.D. Piar of Villa Park fashioned his robot from such household items as Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners.

"It's supposed to be a plane," the 8-year-old said.

His sister, Madison, 10, was busy trying out her robot that she made from a plastic cup. Their father, Kelly Piar, was glad about the opportunities that STEM-O-RAMA provided.

"It doesn't get any better than when kids get to go hog wild and make something of their own," he said.

STEM-O-RAMA also featured several guest speakers, including Robert Ballard, the National Geographic oceanographer who located the wreck of the Titanic.

Ballard told the audience that underwater robots helped him in his search for the Titanic.

"I built these robots that could take me to a place I couldn't go," he said.

He also reminded them about the importance of having heroes in their lives.

"My hero as a kid was Captain Nemo," Ballard said. "I wanted to be Captain Nemo."

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