TOLEDO, Ohio — Future engineers can tinker away at Imagination Station this week. The science center is hosting activities for all ages in light of National Engineering Week.
The goal is to expose kids to engineering and other STEM careers at a young age.
"We're hoping that they will get their foot in the door and maybe test out some of these engineering concepts," extreme scientist Dan Clements said. "Then they can take that little bit of spark and experience into the real world."
According to the US Department of Labor, Toledo has the fifth fastest-growing construction market in the country.
Yet our city also faces a construction worker shortage. According to Associated General Contractors of America data, 88 percent of Ohio contractors report that they are having trouble finding qualified workers.
The need is so dire that local government and construction leaders called for attention to the issue last summer.
During National Engineering Week, Imagination Station is trying to inspire future builders.
Kids will get to explore structural engineering and test the engineering design process by building a roller coaster. Gravity, energy and physics all come into play here. Kids will have to draft, build, test, and tweak to get it just right.
Future architects can also tinker with bridges, skyscrapers, playgrounds and more. Clements explained that building will show kids how to measure to scale and give them a big picture perspective on design.
While the older ones build neighborhoods and roller coasters, the little ones can problem solve a with hands-on story activity.
"A lot of times, people don't associate things with science, technology, engineering and math that they're actually doing all the time," Clements explained. "I think it's just bringing to light those things that we do every day."
Girls in grades three through eight can spend their Saturday listening to The University of Toledo's Dr. Sandrine Mubenga. Dr. Mubenga is an electrical engineer who will help inspire the next generation of female STEM leaders.
The workshop and networking opportunity costs $20 for members and $25 for non-members. It lasts from 8:30 a.m.to 5 p.m. on Feb. 8.
All other engineering activities are included with general admission.