Posts Tagged 'hands-on science'

A visit with Dr. Temple Grandin

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

Dr. Temple Grandin (r) talks with Annette Geiselman (l) and Jean Lamm at the Museum

(See more pictures of Dr. Grandin’s visit on Flickr …)

Think back to when you were a kid – what kinds of things fascinated you? Sparked your curiosity? Turned you on to exploring your world? Yes, it was a long time ago, but remembering my childhood fascinations with the space program, dinosaurs, and the ancient past puts a smile on my face. I can still feel the feelings of wonder and excitement.

Getting kids turned on to exploring and understanding their world – that’s one of our core passions here at the Museum. Last week we were honored by a visit from Dr. Temple Grandin, author, animal behavior pioneer, and autism advocate, who inspired us with her own experiences as a scientist and some great advice on engaging kids.

The key, according to Dr. Grandin, is to get kids “turned on” when they’re young. “If you don’t expose kids to interesting things, they’re not going to get interested in interesting things, “ she said. “You’ve got to get them out and take them to places.”

When we shared with Dr. Grandin our plans and ideas for the new museum, she was enthusiastic. “I think it’s just wonderful that you’re building this museum,” she told us. “We have got to get school kids into the museum. The little kids, we’ve got to get them in there, because I can remember visits to the science museum when I was a kid, and, you know, it made a big impression on me.”

We were curious to hear her thoughts on our approach in the new museum, where we will be taking scientific phenomena and hands-on experiences and putting them in a cultural context – bringing in the history side of things and showing science in action. “That makes total sense,” she told us. “That’s a really good point. You’re telling me you’re going to study how gears work. I’ve seen those exhibits where they show you how gears work, but then what do you use gears for? Well, your bicycle is a good example, so why are gears important? – bicycles have them, you’ve got them in the car, too. We need to show how it works in the real world.”

Dr. Grandin is also a champion of hands-on learning. “What we’ve got to do to get kids enthusiastic about science is that we’ve got to expose them to hands-on science when they’re little kids,” she said. “You know there are programs where, even in elementary school, kids can go out and collect water samples and then they can actually be used to detect pollution levels. That’s real science. Third and fourth graders can collect water samples. We need to make science relevant. When I was a child, science is what enables you to go to the moon. I can remember when Sputnik flew overhead and everyone was all revved up about, we’ve got to really learn science because we have to get to the moon before Russia gets to the moon! It motivated the whole country.”

Dr. Grandin’s already busy life – in addition to teaching at Colorado State University, she travels extensively as an animal welfare consultant and a speaker at autism conferences – has become even more hectic since the HBO movie “Temple Grandin” came out (the movie recently was honored with seven Emmy Awards). While acknowledging the many demands on her time, Dr. Grandin said that “One thing I have tried to do is answer all the letters, especially when little kids write in to me. Make sure I answer all of those and tell them to study hard and achieve your dreams.”

Science at home: Little Shop of Physics is coming!

by Beth Higgins, Public Relations/Development Coordinator

The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center will be hosting Colorado State University’s Little Shop of Physics on Tuesday, December 22, and Wednesday, December 23.

The Little Shop of Physics is a group of science educators and science students that travels the region with a van full of hands-on experiments with the goal of teaching people that science is something anyone can do. They don’t show people science, they help them do science! So forget the cold weather and get fired up about science with the Little Shop of Physics for four fun shows during the winter holidays.

On Tuesday, December 22, at 11 am and 1 pm, the Little Shop of Physics will present “The Science of Sound.” On Wednesday, December 23, at 11 am and 1 pm, The Little Shop of Physics will present a new show, “Pressure.” All shows are open to the public and free with paid admission to the Museum.

What’s in a name?

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

If you’re keeping up with our blog, you now know that we’ve selected the design/build team which will create the physical home for our new museum. We’ve been working for over a year with our exhibit design firm, Gyroscope, to create the experiences that will reside inside that building. A tremendous amount of work has already gone into the process of creating a brand-new museum from the ground up, and we’ve still got a lot of challenging and exciting work ahead of us.

But creating a new museum isn’t about us — it’s about you. You may live in Fort Collins or the surrounding area and plan to visit us often; you may be an out-of-town guest who will come see us infrequently; or you may be someone who visits our website or blog but never steps foot inside the new building. Regardless, this museum is for you.

So we want to ask you to help us do some of the work to make this new museum a reality. Specifically, we’d like your thoughts on what we should call ourselves.

Let me back up for a moment and give you a refresher: the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center, as we are known now, came from the partnership of two leading Fort Collins institutions: Discovery Science Center, and the Fort Collins Museum. We entered into a public/private partnership to build a new museum, one that would combine hands-on science and the culture and history of our region.

Here are a couple of other tidbits to help you think of the perfect name for our new museum: our mission is to “create meaningful opportunities for people of all ages to learn, reflect and have fun through hands-on and collections based explorations in science and culture.” Our vision is “to inspire inquisitive thinkers and encourage responsible stewardship of the past, present, and future.”

Most of all, we want our new Museum to be a place where people not only come away with understanding, but are inspired to action.

That’s who we want to be. Now, can you help us figure out what to call ourselves? Just leave a comment to this post with your ideas, and read other people’s ideas too. And stay tuned — developments with the new Museum are really going to take off in 2010. It’s going to be a great journey.

Color my world

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

We’ve got a LOT of behind-the-scenes work going on right now, as we prepare for Discovery Science Center’s move into the Fort Collins Museum building. DSC’s last day in their current location is this Saturday, May 30th (so get over there, like, NOW if you want to have one last look!). Three weeks ago we dismantled the “Poor of Me, Good of Dog” exhibit in the gallery and Exhibit Designer Cory Gundlach began transforming that space into what will become the home of many of DSC’s most-loved hands-on interactive science exhibits. It’s a lot of work, to say the least, and very exciting to see everything taking shape.

The walls are up and prepped, and this week we’re all pitching in to prime and paint. Yes, Directors, Curators, and everything, turned loose with rollers, ladders, and drop cloths. It’s mayhem, but so far the paint is mostly going on the walls, and not too much on each other …. Plan to come check everything out on June 30th, when we unveil science and history under one roof!

Wonderful work-study Ashley tackles the blue wall

Wonderful work-study Ashley tackles the blue wall

Curator Katie demonstrates that it's all in the wrist

Curator Katie demonstrates that it's all in the wrist (and all on her pants)

Soon to be our fantastic new exhibit space

Soon to be our fantastic new exhibit space

Visualize exciting science exhibits!

Visualize exciting science exhibits!

“Bright Ideas”

by Brent Carmack, Assistant Director, Fort Collins Museum

There’s a new exhibit in the lobby of the Fort Collins Museum that ushers in a new era for both the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center. 

The “Bright Ideas” exhibit is the first joint exhibit between the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center as we move forward with our partnership.  As you probably know by now, Discovery Science Center will be closing its doors on May 30 and moving into the Fort Collins Museum building, bringing with it the great hands-on science experience Discovery Science Center has developed a reputation for over the past twenty-five years. On June 30 the new Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center will open and serve as a transition facility until our new home is completed (sometime in late 2011).

Blending the cultural and scientific, the hands-on interactions with the historical artifacts, the “Bright Ideas” exhibit exemplifies what the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center means when we say “we’re better together.” In this exhibit, for example, you can learn about Thomas Edison and his inventions; see different kinds of electric light bulbs, some of which you can turn on with the push of a button; and see photos and artifacts that illustrate how electricity has played a part in the local history of Fort Collins.

Come check it out and let us know what you think. As the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center merger continues, look for more examples of the blurring of lines between science and culture, and start thinking about your relationship with the world in new ways.

"Bright Ideas" exhibit in progress

"Bright Ideas" exhibit in progress

The finished exhibit

The finished exhibit

Interact with the light bulbs -- just press a button

Interact with the light bulbs -- just press a button

One of the historic artifacts is a power meter from Fort Collins Light & Power

One of the historic artifacts is a power meter from Fort Collins Light & Power (on left)

Touch the plasma wall -- the human body conducts electricity

Touch the plasma wall -- the human body conducts electricity

 

 

 


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