Design, Make, Play

Last month, NYSCI entered the publishing world with our new book: Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators. Published by Routledge, the book includes case studies of innovative programs throughout the country that get young people interested in science and technology. Programs like the Tinkering Studio at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and Design Lab here at NYSCI.

With a shortage of Americans in science and technology fields, this is a book everyone should read. As Ursula Burns, Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, said,

“If you care about the future of our country, you should read this book and then put its lessons to work.”

Next Generation Science


Last week, new guidelines for K–12 science education were released. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by 26 states, along with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. The standards emphasize critical thinking over content memorization and identify science and engineering practices that students should master to be fully prepared for college and careers.

NGSS also recommends that students learn about climate change. For the last two years, we have partnered with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management on a program called My Carbon Footprint, an educational initiative designed to build awareness about climate change science. As a result of this project, we have developed two climate change curriculums – one for middle schools and one for high schools – that include hands-on activities that give students the foundation they need to understand climate change. Both curriculums align to the seven crosscutting scientific and engineering concepts identified in the NGSS framework: patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation; structure and function; stability and change. The curriculums can be downloaded for free and can help guide teachers who implement climate change science lessons into their classrooms.

The NGSS guidelines are voluntary, but many educators are applauding the move away from rote memorization. Our president and CEO, Margaret Honey, said in a recent USA Today article that children should be taught

“how to learn and how to be discerning…When I was a kid, education was memorizing and learning lots of facts — that methodology of teaching absolutely no longer makes sense. That’s not the world we live in anymore.”


Here are pictures of Design Lab’s training at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI).

Being a design based learning experience, Design Lab offers a great exposure for visitors of all ages to build and create relatable objects while incorporating various science concepts.

Soon, activities seen above and others will be brought on to the museum’s floor for interaction. 

Check for updates on the activities in near future. 

Nice pics NYSCI Explainers … Design Lab will have their own blog up and running very soon:

Future Weather: science can change lives

FutureWeather: Official Trailer from Jenny Deller on Vimeo.

Beginning March 1, the NYC premiere of Future Weather will launch at the reRun Gastropub Theater along with a series of post screening events centered around making science more accessible to youth.

Future Weather is about a 13-year-old loner passionate about nature and worried about global warming. Her grandmother, is a fiery nurse jaded by alcohol and disappointment. When Lauduree is abruptly abandoned by her dreamer single mom, she decides to take survival into her own hands, forcing her and Greta to rethink their futures.

On March 5, come join NYSCI’s Liz Slagus along with Flora Lichtman (NPR’s Science Friday), Molly Webster (WNYC’s “Radiolab”), and Future Weather director Jenny Deller discuss Bringing Science to the People.

Stay tuned for an upcoming Explainer TV interview with the film’s director.


This Just in!!  All the AWESOMENESS that happened here as part of the Learning Labs Pop-up on Saturday 2/16 as seen through the eyes of Explainer TV.  

Mike Wilson and his team of Explainers not only had a cool digital pic station at the Pop-up, but they were running around taking videos and pics of all the happy people.  YEAH!!

Maker Space Pop Up was a success! Til we meet again …


On Monday (Presidents Day) the library hosted author and Channel 7 Weather Man, Bill Evans. He wrote a book about weather, It’s Raining Fish & Spiders.  His book sold out in 5 minutes. 

For the 2:30 show, over 250 people enjoyed Mr. Evan’s discussion and slides about weather and his book. We learned a lot about meteorology.

Bill generously took time to pose with his fans (including your librarian!).

Now that’s a packed science library!

Pop-Up STEM Party


When the urge hits to hack, remix, design and make, New York City teens can visit a special pop-up at NYSCI this Saturday. The Learning Labs Pop-Up introduces teens to web design, digital photography, 3D printing, computer animation, sound recording and more in a free workshop made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum Library and Services.

Approximately 50 teens are expected to attend this Saturday’s event. Activity highlights include a Mozilla web maker session by Hive NYC, digital beat making by World Up, and 3D printing by Pixel Academy. With games, food and prizes, the event will feel more like a party than a science lab.

Saturday’s Pop-Up Learning Labs will run from 1 – 4 pm, with another one planned for April 13. Pop on by!

Where’d You Get Those Pants?

imageA quirky fashion trend has been spotted around the city: crazily patterned pants with blue plaid, harlequin checks, and orange and brown swirls. The pants have crossed age and gender lines, with males and females, young and old, wearing the trendsetting garments.

The pants can’t be found at your neighborhood Gap store or at your favorite vintage clothing shop. In fact, they’re not really clothing at all, but a small photograph of pants attached to a thin stick. Using the “StickPic”, the camera on your mobile device, and a willing fashion victim, you can create a fun photo of someone wearing the crazy pants. But to make the photo truly come alive, you’ll need to use a little math.

StickPics are part of Digital Design Lab, a new project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will create mobile apps for use in classrooms throughout the country. The Fancy Pants app, to be released later this year, will be the first of four apps that will turn your mobile phone into a scientific and mathematical tool. Fancy Pants will focus on proportions and forced perspective photography – math concepts that allow you to take a photo of your friend “wearing” those outrageous pants. Digital Design Lab will also include web videos with science-based design challenges and a website where students can post their ideas and solutions.

The central part of this project, however, are the apps, which will allow users to measure and document unexpected phenomena – like that guy wearing those pink psychedelic pants.


Wow! Today we had our second teen hangout with a visit from our first adult advisor, Mike from Pixel Academy.



He was here to show us some super cool 3D modeling software he uses to create digital video games. The platform is pretty complicated but the teens worked hard to grasp the…

NYSCI’s star photographer Andrew Kelly put this little slide show of photo’s from ReMake the Holidays’ SOUND activities, and activated it with Ben Garthus’ Recycled Percussion rhythms. We’re so happy these events not only inspire our participants, but also our photographer. Thanks Andrew!