Families from Rexburg participated in Astrofest at the George S. Romney Building at BYU-Idaho on Saturday at 10 a.m. to learn about science and astronomy.

On this sunny day, families looked at the sun through a solar telescope, painted their faces, made astronomy-related crafts and shot homemade rockets into the sky.

“We learned about the Apollo 11 and launched paper rockets,” said Xander, a child who attended Astrofest.

Student volunteers scattered fun facts about planets and stars for the kids to learn while they did activities. Inside, kids watched planetarium shows and physics demonstrations, ate phases of the moon made out of Oreo cookies and learned about the James Webb Space Telescope.

During the presentation about the James Webb Space Telescope, Brian Tonks, a retired BYU-I professor, explained how discoveries are continuing to surface through newly invented equipment and pictures of the stars.

The James Webb Space Telescope is different than the Hubble telescope because it’s designed to capture any of the infrared light and images of the planets and stars, according to the NASA website.

The kids also watched the physics presentation show. David Boyer, an adjunct professor of the physics department, was in charge of preparing volunteer students to explain the color of gases, the momentum of bowling balls and the surface area of beds of nails.

A BYU-I student prepares to release a bowling ball close to his face. Photo credit: Rose Jones.
A BYU-I student prepares to release a bowling ball close to his face. Photo credit: Rose Jones.

Boyer graduated from BYU-I two semesters ago and is familiar with the physics demonstration. He leaves for grad school in a month, so teaching other students was important to him.

“I’m more like one of the last students that really know how to do these demos,” Boyer said. “That’s kind of the other purpose of training is the fact that I’m going to be gone in a month to go to grad school.”

One of the physics demonstrations showed the reason why people can lie safely on a bed of nails. A student volunteer laid on a bed of nails with a board of nails on top of him. Another student put a cinder block on top of the board and smashed it with a hammer.

The student was safe and the kids were astonished — they had touched the nails and knew that they were real and pointy.

“We invited them to come up and feel for themselves,” said Makelle Wininger, a sophomore studying physics. “And they’re like, ‘whoa!’ Like, their faces just kind of lit up. Their eyes went all big.”

A BYU-I student keeps a beachball in the air with a leaf blower at Astrofest. Photo credit: Rose Jones.
A BYU-I student keeps a beachball in the air with a leaf blower at Astrofest. Photo credit: Rose Jones.

Through the demonstrations and activities, kids had fun while learning as student volunteers shared their knowledge.