Put IHMC’s Science Saturday on your calendar today

Back-to-school means back to Science Saturdays for the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

The 2022-2023 school year may have just begun, but it is never too early to plan for Science Saturday in your schedule. The Fall season of IHMC’s STEM enrichment series starts Sept 24 in Pensacola and Sept. 10 at the Ocala campus.

Science Saturday is a series of 90-minute educational enrichment sessions aimed at students in grades 3-6. Sessions slated for the fall include bottle rockets, Sphero robots, 3D printing and more.

Science Saturday sessions are led by IHMC researchers who take part of their Saturday mornings to share their love of science, technology, engineering and math with students. The sessions are free and you can keep tabs on the schedule and sign up at https://www.ihmc.us/life/science_saturdays/

Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition’s Fall 2022 Science Saturday schedule.

Community sponsorships from Cox, Escambia Sheriff’s Office, Florida Blue Foundation, Gulf Power and Barnes Insurance make the Pensacola sessions possible.

Dr. Ursula Schwuttke is the director of educational outreach for both IHMC’s Pensacola and Ocala campuses. She surveys Science Saturday parents to gauge the impact of the sessions.

“We see that Science Saturdays are impactful for all families, but we see that we continue to make the most difference among families of more limited means — families who might not be able to offer their children the regular experience of hands-on science if our events weren’t free,” Schwuttke said.

Last school year, students from 27 Escambia and Santa Rosa elementary schools attended these weekend enrichment sessions at the Pensacola campus. Also:

  • 83 percent of students attend more than one Science Saturday.
  • 43 percent of attendees are female; 57 percent were male.
  • 25 percent were third-graders; 19 percent were fourth-graders; 27 percent were fifth graders; and 29 percent were sixth graders.

All families report that the sessions boost their children’s scientific curiosity, motivation in science class, enjoyment of science and self-confidence in general. But families whose children qualify for free and reduced-price lunch uniformly report more impact on motivation and self-confidence in science class than other participating families.

Parents surveyed share that the diversity of programming and consistent high-quality are important, but the excitement their children share once they return from the workshops is what keeps them coming back.

“IHMC’s outreach effort provides a continuum of engaging hands-on science and technology events to give students the opportunity to nurture their interest, independent of family resources,” Schwuttke said. 


The schedule for Science Saturday for the Fall is complete. Please use this link to stay up to date on dates and topics for these sessions. And share the link with friends with children in grades 3-6 https://www.ihmc.us/life/science_saturdays/

Pensacola Sessions

Sept. 24: Jeff Phillips, Paper Airplanes.

Oct. 22: Heath Parr, Sphero Robots.

Nov. 19: Pat Hayes, Bottle Rockets.

Dec. 17: Nicole Esposito, 3D Printing.

Ocala  Sessions

Sept. 10: Arash Mahyari, Electric Circuits.

Oct. 15: Manal Fakhoury, Reaction Time.

Nov. 12: Archna Bhatia, Harry Potter and Programming in Python.

Dec. 10: Erin Benavides,  TBD.

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System where researchers pioneer science and technology aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. IHMC researchers and staff collaborate extensively with the government, industry and academia to help develop breakthrough technologies. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, the National Science Foundation, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Institutes of Health, IBM, Microsoft, Honda, Boeing, Lockheed, and many others.