FARMINGTON — Students from schools throughout San Juan County had the opportunity to fly quadcopters and learn about robots during the annual Discovery Festival today at the McGee Park Convention Center.

The third annual Discovery Festival, which is presented by Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County Inc., continues Saturday.

"It's a way to introduce our youth in our community to (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)," said Neilson Francisco, the site manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County.

He said this year the Discovery Festival added health-related fields. The San Juan Regional Medical Center displayed bacteria, fungus and mold cell cultures, as well as a heart, brain and kidney at a booth in the convention center.

The 23 booths allowed nonprofit organizations and businesses to teach children about job opportunities in STEM and health-related fields. Those organizations taught visiting children about those careers using interactive activities.

"You can talk with kids, but you also want to engage them and get them interested," Francisco said.

Dream Diné Charter School, based in Shiprock, brought 25 students to the Discovery Festival.

Elsie Joe, a second- and third-grade teacher, said the children enjoyed using virtual reality glasses at one of the booths.

"It was really something for them," she said.

Joe said school officials decided to send the classes to the event because of the children.

"They're interested in science," she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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