Fairgoers have a chance to make history at the 2013 Clay County Fair.
For the past few months, Iowa Lakes Community College in partnership with the Clay County Fair and the Iowa Governor's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Initiative have been working on an event that will be one for the books: the Guinness World Record Books!
With Iowa Lakes Community College's growing Wind Energy and Renewable Fuels program and support from the Iowa Governor's STEM Initiative, along with the Fair's history of bringing new and interesting attractions to "The World's Greatest Fair," it seemed like the right time to make an attempt at setting the record for the Largest Practical Science Lesson.
"What a dynamic duo combining 'The World's Greatest County Fair' and a Guinness World Record Attempt will produce some powerful chemistry," said Jeremy Parsons, Clay County Fair General Manager.
Iowa Lakes began laying the foundation for the World Record attempt over a year ago by searching for a suitable record and completing the official application process.
"The letter we received from Guinness said they already had a record on file that was close to what we wanted to do with STEM," said Valerie Newhouse, President of Iowa Lakes. "It wasn't exactly what we proposed, but our faculty have found an inventive way to truly make it their own."
A theme was developed surrounding "The Power of Air."
The STEM effort in Iowa and in particular at Iowa Lakes is helping to connect Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with innovative and exciting learning opportunities.
"This will be no ordinary science lesson," proclaimed Kari Webb, Northwest Regional Manager of the Iowa Governor's STEM Initiative. "Here in the heart of the nation's powerhouse of wind energy, 'The Power of Air' will provide a captivating look at the unseen forces of wind, pressure and power."
"You can count on enjoying a high-energy presentation of 'The Power of Air,' plus receive a laboratory kit to complete two experiments in the U.S. Cellular Grandstands as we attempt to set the World Record together," Webb added.
Guinness World Records are carefully guarded and must meet strict criteria in order to be recognized. The current record involves 749 participants and was achieved by students at a junior high in Oslo, Norway, on November 14, 2012.
Now on September 14, 2013, the goal is to have at least 1,500 fairgoers participate in the Guinness World Record attempt at the Clay County Fair U.S. Cellular Grandstand in Spencer. The gates open at 10:20 a.m. and the record attempt starts at 11 a.m.
"We'd love to fill it up and make it really hard for anyone else to break our record," said Writing and Marketing Assistant, Trish Morfitt. "It's probably going to be messy and crazy but it should be fun. You can expect a bunch of demonstrations that show the power of air like leaf blowers with toilet paper connected to them and experiments where foam starts coming out of test tubes. Students participating will be doing stuff with pop rocks and levitating a ping pong ball, among others."
"Remember, this World Record attempt is about doing science, not just seeing it," Webb added. "Every member of the audience will become a part of the World Record attempt by completing two separate 'hands-on, brains-on' science experiments."
In addition to Webb leading the 'class,' Iowa Lakes will have several professors on hand and is still accepting volunteers.
"Come see 'The Power of Air' in action with high flying and high energy experiments presented by our very own science team, in concert with our STEM experts," President Newhouse concluded.