Friday, August 22, 2008

Five Exciting Reasons to Visit DCM This Fall

1. The Interact with Art Gallery's new installation is the Cat's Meow!

In Cat Tower, inspired by the surrealist painting Cat's Paradise by Remedios Varo, children can step into the artist's world by dressing up in original costumes and exploring the cranks and wheels inside. Experience this exhibit, as part of Phase 2 of Wheel Works of Art, and have a purr-fectly good time!

2. Wheel-Inspired Exhibits Keep Rolling In

In addition to your favorites, Wheel Works of Art also features these two new pieces:

  • Build a Tune - a DCM original instrument inviting children to compose a tune while experimenting with sound and cams
  • Quadrapult - a new kinetic sculpture by nationally-known artist, Bradley Litwin that launches balls to targets at the press of a button.

3. All New Creativity Programs and Free Themed Studio Drop-Ins

Designed to foster children's joyful learning about the world and themselves, DCM has five new Creativity Programs to offer! These include:

  • Images of the Season (Beginnings - Science, Math & Art Explorations Series)
  • Life at Sea (Beginnings - Science, Math & Art Explorations Series)
  • 3-D Fall Collage
  • Ramp & Roll
  • A Floatilla of Boats

These new programs and continuing favorites promote children's exploration of concepts related to math, science and the arts and help parents understand how to support that learning. Call (630) 637-8000 to register today!

In addition to DCM's Creativity Programs, drop in to the Studio and experience the Museum's new thematic approach to daily activities! Each month a different theme will be supported by math, science and art activities for children. Studio Drop-In Activities are free to members or with paid admission.

September- Kids on the Move (exploring rhythm and movement)
October - Images of the Season (exploring shape, collage, sculpture, color, lines and nature)
November - Set Sail (exploring pointillism, oil & liquids)

See the DCM Calendar for more information.

4. A New FRC Focus:

Creating meaningful, hands-on exploration and investigation and encouragin children's use of inquiry and process skills (questioning, providing explanations) helps children learn science best. And that's what we do here at DCM - stimulate children's curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving.

To find ways to nurture your child's understanding of science concepts as a play partner, visit DCM and its FRC (Family Resource Center) on the 2nd Floor. Inside the FRC and throughout the Museum, we offer many parent books and resources related to Developmental Concepts, Play at the Museum, and Play at Home.

5. DuPage Children's Museum has great events, including those Just for Grown Ups!

Save the date for the following events:

Educator Open House
Wednesday, September 17th 4-7 PM

An opportunity for educators to learn about the variety of resources and programs the Museum can offer, featuring the presentation "Math: Right From the Start" by Angela Andrews.

Thursday, September 25th 7-8:30 PM and Sunday, September 28th 1-2:30 PM

View this PBS Documentary that examines the importance of play and the impact it has on children's mental and physical well-being.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, DCM welcomes Jane Healy, Ph.D for a thought-provoking presentation about how playing with your child can keep your own brain growing along with your child's and help your entire family develop resilience in a rapidly changing technological world. Dr. Healy will also be taking questions from those submitted on the DCM blog. If you have a question, please submit it here.

Advance Sales: $15 Members/$20 Non-members

Register for any of these Just for Grown Ups events by calling (630) 637-8000 ext. 0

Finally... Don't forget! DCM reopens its doors to the public on September 15th!

What is Going On Behind the Museum's Closed Doors?

For two weeks, beginning September 1st, DCM closes its doors to the public for its annual "shutdown." What many don't know is that inside the Museum, staff actively revive the Museum by:
  • researching and installing new experiences for our visitors,
  • making repairs and conducting maintenance to neighborhoods and exhibits, and
  • going above and beyond our already high-level of cleanliness by doing some deep cleaning.

According to Kim Stull, Director of Guest Services; and Paul Gooding, Museum Floor Manager, being open seven days a week can make it challenging for our team to do major repairs or maintenance without closing down certain areas of the Museum. Stull says, "We are one of the few museums that doesn't close sections on a regular basis." Both state that closing an exhibit or neighborhood for a prolonged period of time is something the Museum tries to avoid to ensure visitors get the most out of their visit. Gooding states, "if we have to close a neighborhood for more than a week, we try to do it during shutdown." Besides general repairs, maintenance that will take place over the next two weeks includes painting and inventory of all books and supplies.

By closing the Museum's doors for two weeks, staff members also have the chance to install new exhibits. This year, this includes installing new artwork and interactive exhibits in the Interact with Art Gallery. Staff also use this time to research new materials and/or manipulatives to be used in neighborhoods and exhibits.

Finally, DCM follows a regular cleaning schedule for its facility and its equipment throughout the year. Nightly and weekly routines ensure materials found throughout the Museum are sanitized and disinfected. However, the two-week shutdown provides the Museum with the opportunity to clean everything inside and out. "It's a time to clean inside all the nooks and crannies," says Gooding. Floor mats in WaterWays are removed and powerwashed, carpets are steamcleaned, and all pieces within the Museum (including fans and motors within AirWorks exhibits) are taken apart for a thorough cleaning.

Our staff is excited to share with our visitors the work that we have done during our two-week shutdown. DCM will reopen to the public on September 15th.

Stay Tuned!
In a later post, find out how learning=fun for DCM staff during shutdown! We'll discuss how over the next two weeks, DCM staff get to know one another, learn more about new exhibits/neighborhoods and get excited to see our visitors as we reopen on September 15th.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Algebra in the Museum?!

Algebra in the early years establishes the necessary groundwork for ongoing and future mathematics learning. -Jennifer Taylor-Cox

Recently we discussed the recently re-opened Math Connections neighborhood and how it highlights many math concepts, including algebra. But what does algebra look like at DCM?

In the article "Algebra in the Early Years? Yes!" author Jennifer Taylor-Cox describes the central ideas of algebra and illustrates ways they can be applied to young children's activities and experiences. These concepts, "enhance children's natural interest in mathematics and their disposition to use it to make sense of their physical and social worlds."

The central ideas of algebra that are described within the article are also the core concepts of the many exhibits and activities found in DCM's Math Connections neighborhood. Below are some exerpts taken from Taylor-Cox's article, describing each central idea. We have also described how children can explore these four ideas inside Math Connections at DCM.

Central Idea #1: Patterns

"'Recognizing, describing, extending, and translating patterns'"

In Math Connections, children can explore symmetry, create patterns with shape and color or create 2-D or 3-D patterns.

Try this: Encourage children to point to each color or shape as they "read" patterns throughout the neighborhood. For example: red, blue, red, blue, red, blue.

Central Idea #2: Mathematical Situations and Structures

"'Experiences with mathematical situations and structures through representations and analyses of equality'"

Children can explore representations and the concept of equality in Math Connections.

Try this: As you explore the neighborhood, use words like equal/not equal, same/different, more/less, balanced/unbalanced.

Central Idea #3: Models of quantitative relationships

"'Explore models of quantitative relationships in a real-life context"

Throughout the neighborhood, children can push individual or sets of beads or manipulatives together to represent different values.

Try this: As you play with manipulatives, narrate the child's actions. You might say, You pushed 5 red beads and 2 white beads; that's 7 beads! Ask questions like, What other ways can you make 7?

Central Idea #4: Change

"'The understanding that most things change over time, that such changes can be described mathematically, and that changes are predictable'"

In Math Connections, children can explore change related to size, shape and measurement.

Try this: Encourage children to use words like bigger/smaller, shorter/taller to describe objects, structures or creations. You might ask, How many blocks tall is your tower?

Tell us about a moment you have shared with a child who was thinking "algebraically" as they played at DCM!