Dozens compete in 8th annual “Big Bang” STEM fair contest

Dozens compete in 8th annual “Big Bang” STEM fair contest

Dozens compete in 8th annual “Big Bang” STEM fair contest

From skin care to melting candy and slime, dozens of Catholic school students from across the state showed off their science projects in hopes of winning some big cash. 

The students had their projects pre-selected by judges to compete in this year’s event held at Visitation School in Mendota Heights. The competition is split into two groups ranging from third through eighth grade students. The event gives an opportunity for students to showcase their advancements in the area so science, technology, engineering and math. 

Lucy Johnson, a sixth-grade student from Carondelet Catholic School explained her science project focuses on the hypothesis that dogs help lower the human heart rate. Johnson said after several human experiments, she determined that her hypothesis is correct.

“I chose to do this project because I was really interested in stress, because it has bad effects on the body, such as sleep problems, headaches and upset stomachs. So, I thought that it could be a definitely an easy and natural way to decrease it,” said Johnson. 

This year, students got to hear from Col. Mark Vande Hei, a NASA astronaut, who spent about a year and a half in space. Vande Hei is a local resident and graduated from Benilde St. Margaret and St. John’s University. He had a message for kids encouraging them to continue working hard in the STEM field. 

“I think we have challenges ahead of us and we’ve got to have children use that sense of curiosity that’s really natural to them. And having recognized that those fields like science and engineering can be a great way to put that energy,” Vande Hei said. 

First place took home $1,000. Second place got $500, and third place received $250. All top three winners from each group got an extra $500 for their school.

This event was organized by the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) and sponsored by Bluum. CSCOE is an innovative nonprofit that works with Catholic schools to enhance excellence and increase enrollment in Minnesota’s 155 preschool through eighth-grade Catholic schools.