There’s a new way for kids on the South Coast to learn about science. A Ventura County museum has just unveiled an interactive lab where children can delve into the earth sciences in a creative and educational approach.

“That’s cool. It’s really sparkly,” says 10-year-old Rowan Rahbar who is looking at a piece of granite through a microscope.

“Those are the different minerals. So, the pink one is called feldspar and the black one is called hornblende and the clear one is quartz,” says museum educator Erin Valenzuela who gives her a science lesson.

There’s a unique science program that’s being taught to some middle school students on the South Coast that involves eating insects. It may sound nasty, but they’re doing it in the name of science.

The fields of science, technology, engineering and math are becoming more attractive to college students across the South Coast. In fact, the number of science majors is rapidly increasing.

Photo by Cal State Channel Islands

Self-carving pumpkins. Flaming gummi bears. And, kids creating glow in the dark slime. Those are just some of the more than 100 science demonstrations and hands-on activities happening on Saturday at Cal State Channel Islands Science Carnival.

Minority children across the South and Central Coasts are being encouraged to pursue science careers. A youth summit in Ventura County targeted minority students with the hope that they would get excited about STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

There’s an effort across the country to encourage students to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering and math because there are plenty of job opportunities in those industries and not enough people to fill them. But, a South Coast university is going one step further. The university is targeting students from underrepresented groups.

Students and professors hike up Mountclef Ridge and through Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks in the name of science. They’re exploring nature -- jotting down notes and snapping photos of the plants and animals they encounter.

Photo by Alan Hancock College

A community college on the Central Coast is helping minority students pursue careers in science. 

Bridges to Baccalaureate at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria assists 29 underrepresented students who want to study biomedical or behavioral sciences.

It provided Jorge Del Pozo with a research internship to study proteins at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last summer, which he says was an inspiring experience.

Hundreds of children spent a day learning about the inner workings of a government agency on the South Coast as part of an effort to raise their enthusiasm about the fields of science and technology.

A robotic tractor with arms called a skidsteer - operated via remote control - used to pick up debris to clear channels was part of the demonstration to the more than 700 children from preschool to high school taking part in Public Works Day in Ventura.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the fruits and vegetables you eat don’t start out at the supermarket. Instead, they begin with a seed. You could take an entire college course on how a seed turns into what ends up on your dinner plate. But, this course is being taught to an unusually young audience on the South Coast.

Preschoolers – ages three to five – are learning about gardening, sustainability, eating healthy and the environment.


Kids in the Tri-Counties who are curious about anything science-related can get their answers from real-life scientists.

It’s called ScienceLine. It’s a website in which students and teachers from local elementary, middle and high schools submit science questions, and UC Santa Barbara scientists answer them.

“It’s a good way to encourage kids not only to learn science but to develop curiosity and think about how to do science,” UCSB Emeritus bio-physics professor Helen Hansma said. 

The 70s were disco music, giant hairdo, and flashy clothes. On the serious side, there was the Vietnam War, and the Arab oil embargo, which led to huge gas shortages and long lines at American gas stations.

But, when many people think about the 70s, they don’t necessarily think of it as a time of scientific, or technological innovation. U-C Santa Barbara History Professor Patrick McCray many of those perceptions of the 70’s are wrong. 

He, and fellow science historian David Kaiser of the Michigan Institute of Technology have edited a new book about the subject, called “Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture.