“The Big World of Little Critters” at the Metro Children’s Water Festival

Hello everyone! Yesterday was a busy day for Market Science at the Metro Children’s Water Festival, an annual event that offers hands-on activities for students to learn about water, its importance to people and the environment, and how to better protect this most important natural resource. Bringing samples from Staring Lake in Eden Prairie, the Market Science team helped nearly 2,000 4th graders from around the Metro area explore what tiny creatures exist in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. We used lunchbox microscopes (a special thank-you to InSciEd Out for letting us borrow them!) to display zooplankton, a tiny freshwater invertebrate that eats algae. Students’ eyes lit up with excitement as these minuscule organisms wandered across the screen, swimming through the Petri dish and hunting for algal growth. They especially loved the buttons and temporary tattoos we brought! It was an amazing day, teaching kids and adults alike about the mystery that is our state’s freshwater ecosystems. We can’t wait to return next year!

“Do you remember who Plankton is from Spongebob Squarepants? These zooplankton are his cousins!” – Market Science Outreach Program Assistant, Megan, teaching 4th grade students about zooplankton.

Market Science at President Gabel’s Inauguration Picnic

Hello everyone! Market Science is back with another update!

This past week brought not only a big heat wave, but also a new president at the University of Minnesota. President Joan T.A. Gabel was sworn in as the 17th University president on Friday, September 20, and to kick off her term, a huge inauguration picnic was held in her honor on the Mall on the East Bank campus. Dozens of vendors, food trucks, the Pride of Minnesota Marching Band, the Spirit Squad – and Market Science, of course! – gathered to enjoy the nice weather and delicious food, as well as learn about all of the various clubs and organizations active here on campus. The Market Science board brought lots of exciting critters for their “Invertebrates” session, including Rosie, the rose-haired tarantula, a cellar spider, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, fiddler crabs, and bean beetles. Over 250 people stopped by to pet Rosie, watch the crabs fight over territory in their tank, and listen to the cockroaches hiss. It was a beautiful, sunny day enjoyed by all, and the Market Science volunteers had a blast spreading the knowledge of science to students, staff, the public, and President Gabel herself!

Welcome to the University of Minnesota, President Gabel. Ski U Mah!

The Market Science board with President Gabel at the Inauguration Picnic, Sept. 20, 2019.

“Teeny teeny tiny” – Bringing nanoparticles to the Market Science circuit

Happy fall semester, everyone! Market Science has been incredibly busy this summer. From organizing market events all over the metro area, to spreading scientific knowledge at the MN State Fair, we have been hard at work all season long, and are excited to continue bringing science to markets this fall. 

One of our session leaders, Stephanie Mitchell, recently brought the mystery of nanoparticles to the Midtown Farmers Market on September 7. Describing them as “teeny teeny tiny,” these nanoparticles were brought out for kids and adults of all ages to see and experiment with. Mitchell and her team brought along both gold nanoparticles and ferrofluid, a nanoscale iron oxide that can be used in cancer treatments. Volunteers helped to show curious market-goers how something so teeny tiny can have such a big effect on technology, like computers and smartphones. Without nanoparticles, many of the electronics we love to use every day wouldn’t work!

For more information on Mitchell’s outreach experience, and to learn more about nanotechnology, click here to access her blog for the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.