Gateway Science Museum


Renee McAmis and Renee Renner this past spring had the opportunity to present six student-scientists with awards from the Gateway Science Museum at the annual Chico Science Fair held at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. The large building was filled with student entries from 26 participating area schools. Grades ranged from kindergartenseventh. 

Rachel Teasdale, Byron Crossen, and Ray Barnett judged the entries. The creativity and imagination on display with those projects was fascinating. The awards presented to the Gateway winners consisted of backpacks filled with science- and museum-related items. The front of each backpack had the GSM logo.

The names of the winners and their projects are:
  1. "How Much Weight Can A Snail Pull?" - Grade 1, Arya and Afsheen Alijani
  2. "Let's Make Scents of It" - Grade 3, Benjamin Matalavage
  3. "Feeding Habits of Dogs" - Grade 6, Kyle Golet
  4. "Nasty vs. Nice: Can a Plant's Growth be Affected by Positive or Negative Messages?" - Grade 6, Rosa Nelson
  5. "Garlic Keeps Bacteria Away" - Grade 7, Saachi Jhandi

All five projects were well presented, cleverly done, and explained well. The boys built Lego "trailers" and attached the trailer to the foot of the snail. We learned a snail can pull 200 times its weight, and they can live at least 15 years. 

Each student was given a backpack and learned why the judges selected their projects. Renee took a photograph of each student with his or her project (with permission). One of the winners, Benjamin Matalavage, said it has been a dream of his to win a Gateway backpack since his brother  won such a backpack several years ago, when the museum was the Northern California Natural History Museum. As a side note, Benjamin's brother went on to the state science fair that year. Benjamin had an ear- to-ear grin when receiving his backpack and could not have been more pleased.

It was so nice to see how many children and parents came to the awards ceremony. All chairs were filled. The Chico Science Fair Foundation, chaired by our very own Rachel Teasdale, is to be highly commended for the many, many years they have provided this competition for Chico-area students. It was obvious the kids love the science fair as much as they enjoy one of their favorite sports. What a great collaborative venture between the Chico Science Fair and Gateway Science Museum.  Gateway Science is discussing the possibility of having some, if not all, of the five winning projects on display at the museum this summer. 

There were many other awards handed out, including but not limited to CSU, Chico College of Natural Sciences Dean's Awards; National Science Teachers Association, Student Chapter; and American Society for Microbiology Student Chapter. 

Many thanks to Rachel Teasdale for the opportunity to be involved in this educational and inspirational event. All of you should make an effort next year to come out to the Chico Science Fair. Be prepared to be in awe of the extraordinary talent of our students!

The Sportsology Career Day was also held at the museum. It is a time when high school students meet and interact with professionals in sports medicine and related fields and hear about their educational and work backgrounds. The kids also enjoy time in the museum using the sports equipment and trying out the brain teasers. The day culminated in a competition in an obstacle course that measured their physical and mental abilities.

The museum staff had everything set up perfectly. It was interesting and pleasing to see, and, the program was A+. The best part is that we had over 40 students and a number of moms, dads, and teachers. These students were from Chico High, Pleasant Valley, Durham, and Inspire. They weren’t shy or hesitant to participate, and as the afternoon gained momentum, they were definitely into it. There were drawings throughout the events. A NOOK was the grand prize (thanks to a donation by Renee McAmis); other prizes included gift certificates from Big Five and even a getaway in a yurt in Lassen Park. The students were involved, inspired, and learning (so were the ‘big kids’). 

Warmest appreciation is extended to all those who made this possible: Renee Renner, Robbie Larkin, Mary Brownell, Jennifer Jewell, Jess Edmunson, and Jeanne Greene; the volunteers who helped staff the afternoon, Renee McAmis, Gwen Quail, Robyn Saylor, and Dave; and for e-blasts recognizing our event sponsors, Courtney and Joan and the docents who pitched in.

Gateway Science Museum opened its doors for fall 2013 on Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, closed.

Ongoing Exibits:

  • Outdoor Eco-Regions
  • Ice Age Skeletons
  • River Voices

Current Exhibits:

  • When the Earth Shakes
  • Spin, Balance, and Rock & Roll
  • Mushrooms: Keys to the Kingdom Fungi

To purchase tickets, contact Gateway Science Museum at 530-898-4121 or visit our website.