Every two years the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, opens its doors to thousands of school children and families.

SOEST holds a two-day long open house that exposes kids of all ages to the wonders of science in disciplines UH Mānoa is internationally recognized for. The event features a wide variety of exhibits, activities and demonstrations.

On the first day, approximately 5,300 school kids and chaperons visited the open house.

“The marine stuff, they actually had all the dead fish. They had a real shark eyeball. It’s huge,” said Joshua Leong, a 4th grader from Wilson Elementary School.

“I’ve seen the hands on deck where you tied a knot. And we’ve seen with the buckets where we, whoa!” said Koa Souza, a 4th grader from Waiʻalae Elementary Charter School, who was distracted by a loud bang. “That was the volcano with eggs I think.”

The noise came from a simulated volcanic eruption where 20 gallons of water and dozens of balls were blasted into the air fueled by liquid nitrogen.

kids at science display

The open house generated a lot of excitement. The kids also got a chance to operate a robotic submersible, make their own earthquakes and measure the impact, get up-close-and-personal with creatures of the sea and explore the surface of the moon.

Another great aspect of the open house—visitors got the chance to talk to scientists and researchers who were eager to discuss their work and personal discoveries.

“With this open house we hope that we share those new discoveries and also impart our excitement for ocean and earth sciences,” said SOEST outreach coordinator Marcie Grabowski.

The research being done at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology covers a wide spectrum—from weather to earthquakes to tsunamis, all of which are critically important to Hawaiʻi and beyond.

“I’d like people here to know that people here are studying them, doing basic research, applied research and education—it’s what we do,” said SOEST Associate Dean of Research Alexander Shor.

Shor says SOEST is one of the top schools in the world. “To know that it’s here locally, that the expertise is here, we really would like the community to understand that,” said Shor.

The school hopes the event inspires children to pursue a life of science.

“They showed us how to use the rocks to make stuff. I want to be a rock scientist, to see what kind of rocks there are,” said Isabelle Kim, a 4th grader from Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School.

More on the SOEST open house

SOEST celebrated 25 years of excellence and innovation in 2013.

The popular biennial Open House featured the four SOEST departments and numerous researcher units, including the UH Mānoa Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education; the engineering, physics, astronomy, marine biology and Hawaiian studies departments; the National Weather Service; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the Waikīkī Aquarium and the Aloha Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.