By Bill Snyder
More than 100 children and their families attended the sixth annual MEGAMicrobe community science recently at Gower Elementary School in Nashville.
Hosted by the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4) in partnership with Nashville’s Adventure Science Center, MEGAMicrobe invites children ages 5 to 14 to conduct science experiments, join hands-on activities and games, and take home prizes and giveaways.
“This event is always a hit with the children,” said VI4’s program manager, Megan Schladt, MS. “I overheard one little boy tell his mom as they were leaving that it was the most fun thing he’s ever done.”
This year’s theme was Mission:Microbe. Among 17 booths staffed by Vanderbilt students and researchers were “Frogs and Mission Earth;” “MEGAMooocrobes,” a voyage into the digestive tract of an “astronaut cow;” and “Survivor Microbe,” an exploration of microscopic water bears (tardigrades) that look like they’re from another planet.
“We are proud of our students, postdocs and faculty for the hard work they put into it to make sure everyone has a great experience,” Schladt said. “It’s often one of the first interactions the kids have with a ‘real’ scientist. We hope we’ll inspire some of the students to develop an interest in studying science.”
For more information, visit https://www.vumc.org/viiii/megamicrobe.