NYSCI educators will be testing three educational games this June and July. Produced by SciPlay, NYSCI’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning, the games will be prototyped with middle school students, and will eventually be adapted for use in NYSCI’s Science Playground.
The goal of the games is to have the students use experimentation to understand science concepts such as rotational and linear motion, force, velocity, friction, and kinetic and potential energy. In the Rotational Motion Game, kids explore circular motion by moving a small bowling ball in a circle using a mallet, while a camera and projector track and display the ball’s path. In the Cart Activity Game, students are challenged to create either constant velocity or acceleration by pushing a cart on a linear track. In the Slide Game, light sensors positioned at the top and bottom of a playground slide help calculate each student’s speed down the slide, allowing participants to investigate friction, and kinetic and potential energy.
The three games are part of research about playful learning that is at the core of SciPlay. SciPlay aims to create hands-on experiences that instill an understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The activities created as a result of prototyping sessions and other research at SciPlay will be adapted for use in classrooms and playgrounds throughout the country.
The Design Lab, a project of NYSCI’s Verizon Center for STEM Learning, was profiled in the May 12 edition of Education Daily, a national publication for education professionals and policymakers. Dorothy Bennett, NYSCI’s director of design-based learning in schools, described the Design Lab as “a place where teachers can think outside the box and take some risks” with a goal of getting students engaged with science “in a kinesthetic way.”
Twenty Design Lab Fellows are working now through the summer on developing a suite of educational resources that will be available to teachers beginning in the 2011 – 2012 school year. A second class of Fellows will begin work in the fall.
Learning to love the chaos resulted from a day of prototyping at NYSCI for Brett’s thesis project, SoundStage.
SoundStage is an ambisonic surround sound mixer. By moving objects around the table, users can pan audio around the room and immerse themselves within a soundscape of their own creation.
In collaboration with SciPlay, Brett introduced SoundStage to NYSCI visitors, giving kids and parents an opportunity to put his prototype through its paces.
The outcome? SoundStage has potential for immersive storytelling with older kids. But for preschoolers, what Brett ultimately discovered is that SoundStage creates an environment for a unique sonic experience that leverages kids’ innate curiosity and tendency to play.
NYSCI’s Chris Lawrence checks in to recap last week’s My Carbon Footprint 3D Design Jam…
To mark Earth Day, NYSCI teamed up with the New Youth City Learning Network, The Mozilla Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors and the National Science Foundation for the first annual Earth Day My Carbon Footprint 3D Design Jam.
Seventy-five tweens, teens, adults, NYSCI Instructors, and Explainers got together to experiment, play, design and yes hack the Virtual Hall of Science, various websites, digital photographs and even good ‘ole markers on paper.
Like a music jam, Design Jam participants worked on many different kinds of projects and then riffed off of each other to produce a collaborative online 3D exhibition space.
"I have long admired NYSCI’s imaginative approach to science teaching, so I am delighted to be working with them on this project," said Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division and a member of Deutsche Bank’s Group Executive Committee. “I have complete confidence that they will develop a curriculum that will effectively engage and educate New York children about climate change. Action to fight global warming begins with public awareness, and awareness starts with education. Teaching the next generation about this issue is ultimately, therefore, the surest way of conquering such a vast and complex problem. We cannot start too soon.”
My Carbon Footprint takes a student-centric approach to climate change education
Today, NYSCI unveiled a new project to boost climate change education in New York City schools.
The two-year project, funded with a grant from Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, is called My Carbon Footprint. It will result in a new set of educator resources as well as a series of student-produced exhibits for the online Virtual Hall of Science, where NYSCI is exploring the educational potential of virtual environments.
Students will gain experience designing for both digital and real environments, collaborating through social networks, and practicing basic 3D modeling, while helping to develop a climate change curriculum that will roll-out in NYC classrooms in Fall 2011.
My Carbon Footprint is presented by Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors: Know The Number
The Science Playground, designed by BKSK Architects at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, is less fairy tale than futurama. Resembling a colorful Rube Goldberg contraption, with waterworks, the 60,000-square-foot space lets children study the laws of physics while happily submitting to them.
“Kids love to get dizzy,” said Sookram Ramsaroop, the hall’s supervisor of visitor interactions. Thus the standing spinner, a disc topped by a vertical bar with a hand grip. “I may say, ‘Lean back, and see what happens,’ ” he said. “Or, ‘Lean in.’ ” The resulting difference in speeds illustrates conservation of angular momentum, which children can learn about from an on-site explainer. (Or not: no one forces lessons.)
This article is of particular interest to me since, as some of you may know, I’ve been involved in informal science education for several years and will be starting a museum studies graduate program this Fall with an emphasis on science museums. (In fact, the beginning of this blog is actually primarily about my trip to Europe where I interned at several science centers.) And, between you and me, I actually have a bit of a pipe-dream of opening my own someday.
So, naturally, I was quite interested in this article (additionally since I’m also a fan of its author) - but so should everyone. This study has strong implications for museums, science, and education in general. I could go on, but instead, here are the RCS Highlights:
One of the first studies of its type has confirmed that a science museum can strongly influence the public’s knowledge and attitudes about science and technology - and to a surprising degree can cut across racial, ethnic, educational and economic barriers.
The study.. offers profound support for the value of such institutions. It also reinforces the emerging concept of “free choice” learning, which holds that people get most of their knowledge about science from someplace other than school or formal education…
“The holy grail of science museums is not to provide someone all the knowledge they need, but to inspire them, to become a launching point,” said John Falk, an OSU professor of science education and national leader in the free-choice learning movement. “Many people have believed that such institutions could do this, but this study provides some of the first definitive evidence that it works.”..
* More than half of the residents in Los Angeles County, over one million a year, have visited the Science Center since it opened in 1998, and say it strongly improved their understanding of science issues.
* Residents who visited the Science Center were among the most knowledgeable Los Angeles residents about science and technology, and their visit significantly contributed to this.
* The makeup of visitors was broadly representative of the general population, including all races, ethnicities, ages, education and income levels…
* Nearly all adults who said their children had visited the Science Center reported an increase in their children’s knowledge of science and technology, and large majorities said the visit raised their long-term interest level…
As a NYSCI explainer "alumni" pursuing a career in informal science education, I'm pretty psyched to find this blog and thought you might be interested in a recent post of mine: http://realcleverscience.tumblr.com/post/4606155011/surveys-confirm-enormous-value-of-science-museums
Ari @ RCS
Hey! Thanks Ari, I’m psyched you found our blog. I just started yesterday so it still needs work … good to know we have alumni out there keeping an eye out for us. Keep in touch!
The New York Hall of Science, in conjunction with Northern.Lights.mn, presents ReGeneration, a summer-long exhibition debuting in 2012 with related programming in and around NYSCI. In total, ReGeneration will engage 14 artists or artist groups in creating and presenting work that explores the connection of cultural vitality to immigration, urbanization, and sustainability through the intersection of art, technology and science. More information about ReGeneration can be found here.
April 16 – 24, 1 & 2 pm; plus additional performances on April 22 at 3 pm and April 24 at noon. This weekend its time to get creative with bubbles, learn about the science behind them, and be WOWED by comedian/bubble-ologist Casey Carle. The Science Library is also hosting bubble poetry workshops on Sat. at 3pm & 4PM. Tickets are available at the door & are limited!
TAB is starting to plan for the 2011 NYC Maker Faire! Lots of cool things planned aroung this year’s MF - our first Meetup, the 2011 edition of the official Team TAB Maker Faire NYC skateboard, and more. See you in Queens!