The Innovation Hub Awarded $99,789 to provide educational experiences around the 2024 Solar Eclipse

The Simons Foundation has provided funding to the Innovation Hub to educate the youth community in Arkansas about the science behind the total solar eclipse set to happen on April 8,2024.North Little Rock, Ark. During the months of August2023 through March2024, The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub staff is planning to conduct STEAM solar eclipse hands-on field trips to 25 rural cities in the State of Arkansas that will bein the path of totality of the upcoming solar eclipse. The Hub educators will use their mobile unit, the Mobile Makerspace, to travel around the state to the specific teaching facilities and pro-vide the equipment and supplies for these educational field trips. Participating students will have the opportunity to learn about the science be-hind the solar eclipse while engaging in STEAM activities that use a fun project-based interdisciplinary model. Additionally, the Hub staff is excited to distribute solar eclipse glasses for students, provide a surprise hands-on activity, and host a watch party on the day of the eclipse, April 8, 2024.During the months of November 2023 and April 2024, the Hub will offer STEAM-focused activities to the guests of the 3rd Fri-day Art Walk event that takes place in Argenta, North Little Rock every month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the goal of educating event goers about the natural phenomenon and to raise awareness of this special occasion. In addition, the Hub will host and feature a local artist from March 2024 to April 2024 who focuses on science and solar eclipse work. The Hub’s director, Errin Stanger, is thankful for the generosity of the Simons Foundation and for providing the Hub staff with the chance to continue to inspire innovation and expand opportunities around the State of Arkansas. “It’s very special to find a partner who believes in your mission and under-stands the importance of hands-on awe-inspiring educational opportunities. We are very fortunate to share our passion and interest in the solar eclipse with children across Arkansas. The Simons Foundation has provided an opportunity to live out our mission and vision and we are grateful,” said Stanger. The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Co-founded in1994 in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation exists to support basic— or discovery-driven— scientific research undertaken in the pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world. The Simons Foundation’s Science, Society and Culture division seeks to provide opportunities for people to forge a connection to science— whether for the first time or a lifetime. Through their initiatives, they work to inspire a feeling of awe and wonder, foster connections between people and science, and support environments that provide a sense of belonging. The city of North Little Rock will be in total darkness for up to two minutes during the eclipse and the Hub staff is looking forward to preparing Arkansans for this incredible event

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