Save the Date: Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and STEM Fest

Braille Challenge Logo
Image of a sun shining Let the Sunshine In! Text: IDB STEM Fest Saturday, February 25, 2023 Iowa Department for the Blind 2:00pm - 4:00pm

The Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled will host its 17th Regional Braille Challenge on February 25, 2023, from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Braille readers (grades 1-12) from Iowa will gather at the Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street in Des Moines, to test their braille skills in five categories: reading comprehension, braille spelling, charts and graphs reading, proofreading, and braille speed and accuracy. Immediately following the competition, winners from each age group are announced.

Winners of this Iowa Regional Braille Challenge will go on to compete at the national finals held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. From there, 50 students (10 in each of the five categories) with the highest scores from around North America and the UK embark on another competition to test their braille skills alongside peers from around the world.

This year, an in-person STEM festival is back. STEM stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math. From 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM that same day, the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) will partner with the South Central (SC) STEM Hub to host an event themed: Let the Sunshine In! The festival is open to the public and will serve all children in grades K-12 and their families.

Exhibitors from around the metro area will share expertise in STEM, and all activities will be based on the best practices of Universal Design concepts and materials will be provided in accessible formats (large print and braille). Participants can take part in cooking and wood shop demonstrations highlighting non-visual techniques.  The goal of the event is to communicate that STEM is all-inclusive and that the best ideas come when diverse minds team up to solve problems.

Register to attend or exhibit at Attendees who pre-register will receive a free tote bag while supplies last. Walk-ins are welcome.

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