Education’s three Rs are sharing the limelight with the next letter of the alphabet, S for science.

Discovery Canyon Campus middle school’s 250 sixth-graders are learning about “The Importance of Water” this week, with a mobile science center on wheels called The Mobile Earth + Space Observatory, or MESO.

The lessons culminate with a community STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Festival 4-8 p.m. Friday.

Students are interacting with scientist educators from the Colorado Springs-based National Space Science & Technology Institute, as they explore the water cycle, watersheds, water purification and water conservation.

Colorado Springs D-11 taking hard look at itself in preparing for the future

After school, students can explore Earth and space science using telescopes.

The weeklong program has been a year in the making, as sixth-grade science teachers Emily Heinrich and Licette Smith coordinated with the NSSTI staff to integrate MESO activities with curriculum.

The goal: engage students to experience firsthand what it is like to be a scientist.

“The program is designed to reach students who might not otherwise have access to the scientists and instrumentation provided by the MESO,” said Robert Sallee, chairman of the NSSTI board.

The project teaches students vital environmental issues relating to Colorado water supplies with an emphasis on community-based concerns, he said.

The Women’s STEM Career Fair will be held 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Space Foundation Discovery Center, 4425 Arrowswest Drive.

Presented by the Space Foundation and the Zonta Club of the Pikes Peak Area, the event will highlight economic prospects in this region for careers in STEM, along with practical advice and resources to help women enter or switch to a STEM field.

The keynote speaker is Jill Tietjen, an electrical engineer and president and CEO of Technically Speaking, an electric utilities consulting firm she founded in Greenwood Village.

She has written or co-authored eight books and more than 100 technical papers.

A strong advocate for women and girls in the STEM fields, Tietjen establishes scholarships for women in engineering and technology, and nominates women for awards and halls of fame. She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

The ticket price of $35 includes breakfast and lunch. Register at

The annual Pikes Peak Regional Science Fair will be held Feb. 23 at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in Berger Hall in the University Center.

Sixth- through 12th-graders in El Paso, Teller, Elbert and Park counties will compete with projects in science, engineering, math and computer science.

There are 115 entries this year, said fair director Nancy Hampson.

An open house is at 3 p.m. Feb. 23 in Berger Hall.

Entries will include students testing essential oils and whether they kill bacteria, solar energy projects to keep roads clear, environmental and geology experiments from the area and the perennially popular behavioral surveys, among others.

“We know kids have lots of different options they can pick, and this really appeals to students who likes to work on their own and investigate, as opposed to some of the team science events,” Hampson said.

The awards ceremony will begin at 6:30 p,m. on Feb. 26 at Colorado College in the Kathryn Mohrman Theatre at Armstrong Hall.

Approximately $8,000 in awards for first, second and third place per category and 40 special awards from area businesses will be given.

Top projects will qualify for the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Cool Science, an organization of scientists, engineers and educators that makes science cool for kids through events and activities, hosts a Science on Tap event at 6:30 p.m. every second Monday of the month at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, 21 S. Tejon St.

Local scientists explore science and technology topics, from practical to theoretical, followed by informal discussion.

On Monday, Nanna Meyer, an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Department of Health Sciences and founder of the Sport Nutrition Graduate Program, will discuss heritage and ancient grains.

Information includes their role in small-to-medium scale agriculture, food culture, human nutrition and community cooperation.

Eric Muenchen, a middle school science teacher in Colorado Springs School District 11, has been named a Teacher Fellow in the 2018-19 Northrop Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy.

The only teacher selected from Colorado, Muenchen will join 27 other educators from around the nation in a number of science, engineering, and technology-related activities and professional learning opportunities.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association sponsor the program.

Winners were selected on criteria including displaying a strong desire to advance STEM education and use real-world applications in the classroom.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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