Friday, September 25, 2009

Finding Science in Play

Humans are Born Curious
Pick up a dropped spoon for an infant in a high chair and suddenly the classic game "I drop it and you pick it up" becomes a lesson about cause and effect, a basic scientific principle. When the baby shakes a rattle, he makes the discovery that the rattle produces a sound. He shakes it again; the sound happens again. The infant is learning to make predictions, another scientific skill. While these games are not sophisticated science, they are the child's earliest introductions to learning in a scientific way.

Seize the Moment!
Science is more than a subject in school! When children discover why and how something is so, they are behaving like scientists. Discovering science, exploring science and applying scientific principles can happen anywhere, including play opportunities in the exhibits and programs at DuPage Children's Museum.

Science at DuPage Children's Museum
Our job is to ensure that your child has many opportunities to explore and experiment through play in the exhibits and programs at DCM.

This child is discovering that the air coming through the tube has an effect on the scarf. The air is moving around the scarf so fast that the scarf stays partially inside the tube - a scientific principle known as the Bernoulli effect. When children make connections with air and wind through play, they often recall these connections when they learn about scientific principles later in school. Children (and adults) who play with this exhibit use ideas about air as starting points in constructing knowledge.

Water play leads children to ask questions (Chaille and Britain, 1991).
What does water do? How can I change the flow of water? Curiosity leads to experimentation, which provokes even more curiosity to challenge a child's interest. At DCM children have two large water tables to explore in Water Ways.

In our Art Studio children explore art, math and science through facilitated, planned activities. This child is making paper. The process involves mixing ingredients and noticing an observable change. Experienced Play Facilitators guide the process by asking questions to help the child notice the change from pulp to paper, which can then be used to draw upon.

To find ways to nurture your child's understanding and natural curiosity of science concepts, visit the Family Resource Center and our Web site to view parent and caregiver resources about the current focus, Making Connections to Science.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Very Busy Museum

It's been a busy time here at the Museum the last two weeks during our annual shutdown for facility deep cleaning and new exhibit installation. As some of you may know, every September we close for two weeks for our annual refresh. We are almost ready to show off our freshly painted walls, sparkling clean exhibits, and our brand new exhibit, The Play's the Thing.

Here are some pictures of what it has looked like during this busy time getting ready for our reopening on Monday, September 14.

Thanks to our many staff and volunteers who work to spruce up our exhibits, you will have freshly painted walls to enjoy.

Even though all of our manipulative pieces are cleaned daily, during shutdown they are taken outside, where each piece is scrubbed or power washed.

Our water tables in WaterWays had a major deep cleaning. First we sanded each table, which roughed out and filled in all the crevices. Then we painted them with an epoxy paint, which made them look very shiny. All of the floor mats were power washed and set outside to dry. These procedures contribute to our committment to keeping WaterWays exceptionally clean!

Our refresh is almost complete! We're looking forward to welcoming all of you back!