Children had the opportunity to fulfill their curiosity while learning how to conduct experiments at different stations during the Bowley Science Festival at Bowley Elementary School at Fort Bragg, April 24.

The Bowley Science Festival presented students with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of engineering and interactive science activities. This was made possible by a grant from the University of North Carolina, which is provided to two schools in Cumberland County each year and is part of the statewide UNC Thorp Science Night.  

“The grant is not money, it is in fact hands-on science activities that come in a kit with instructions that enable us to set up seven stations for children and their families to explore,” said Andrea Mial, principal of Bowley Elementary School.

Bowley Elementary School had a total of 12 stations set up with activities such as invisible ink, fingerprinting, paper flyers, marshmallow towers, gene bracelets and garden gloves. These events were consistent with the Department of Defense schools’ plans to include more science and math into its curriculum.

“The Department of Defense Schools have adopted the STEAM initiative which stands for science, technology, engineering arts and mathematics and the schools are looking to incorporate the studies and the focus of the sciences. We wanted to make the Bowley Science Festival part of that initiative,” said Mial.

This event was not easy to put into motion and many people had to work hard to make it possible.

“Our school community is extremely active and this school year we have had 3,500 volunteers and 5,000 visitors in this building. We have a great PTA (parent teacher association) that is hosting the science festival. Our PTA worked to get awarded the grant in December and several of our teachers have been working since then to make this event happen,” said Mial.

Mial said this is not just the first time the UNC grant has been awarded and added to the Bowley Science Festival, it’s also the first time it has been awarded to any Fort Bragg school.

Aside from the STEAM initiative and Bowley Science Festival, Bowley Elementary School has several other programs they have been implementing throughout the month of April.

“Each month we have several different focuses. This month we have been focusing on child abuse awareness, autism awareness, celebrating the military child and Earth Day,” said Dr. George Small, school counselor, Bowley Elementary School.

Small said there is an upcoming picnic on May 3 for all Bowley Elementary School students, parents, and their friends. The picnic will feature a preview of the Bowley Elementary chorus and a jump demonstration. 

“The picnic provides children and parents an opportunity to bond and form relationships within the school and community and is a chance for children to have fun,” said Small.

The doctrine at Bowley will continue to inspire students to learn, grow, and expand their minds.

“Bowley has a vision of ensuring we prepare children to excel both mentally and emotionally in the global society by encouraging them through education,” said Mial. “It’s business as usual at Bowley.”