Thursday, May 27, 2010

Make It Move Grand Re-opening

The redesigning and refurbishing of Make It Move (MIM), one of seven Museum neighborhoods, was celebrated this past weekend with a grand re-opening. With so many experiences that invite direct exploration of basic cause and effect, MIM is at the conceptual heart of DuPage Children's Museum (DCM). "MIM is a place where children can experience the basic laws of physics while having fun. As they learn to build more intricate ramps, their conceptual understanding grows along with their engineering ability," noted Peter Crabbe, Associate Director of Exhibits and Design.

Shown in the picture to the left is Naperville's Mayor George Pradel, sharing ribbon cutting honors with Greg Elliott, Senior VP of Human Resources and Administration for Navistar International Corporation; Susan Broad, the Museum's Executive Director; and two of our visitors who had arrived for the festivities. Navistar International Corporation, always a great supporter of the Museum, is a generous sponsor of the new exhibits in Make It Move. In the picture to the right, also attending the re-opening was Karl Knecht, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Affairs for Navistar; Mark Wickart, Manager of Exhibit Fabrication and Maintenance for DCM; and Peter Crabbe, along with Mayor Pradel and Greg Elliott.

Newly added to the redesigned MIM neighborhood is the Ball Lifter in Ramps and Rollers, where adults and children work together to lift a ball higher and place it on their created ramps and then watch it roll to the bottom of the funnel. The main idea of the Cam Ball Lifter is so children can use a cam lifter to better observe force and momentum with a higher starting point for releasing the ball. There are also redesigned big blocks and stackable small blocks to explore the energy of motion. An important goal of the MIM re-design was to provide more ways for young visitors to see and explore simple machines in action. "Being able to observe and use a cam lifter is a real world experience for our visitors," noted Peter Crabbe.

The brand new Experimentation Station invites prediction, experimentation and comparison. This system uses magnets to levitate a vehicle as it moves down a ramp. Children can also compare the motion of weighted spools as they are placed to go down the ramps.

Adding to the festivities was the
opportunity to climb aboard a the cab of a huge semi-truck, on loan from Navistar. Imagine rolling along in a truck of this size! Wow, are those tires huge! And finally, some of our visitors enjoyed ice cream from Maggie Moo's.
Learn more about science exploration with forces in motion in our next blog post!
(Photos courtesy of Rick Beato)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making it Move

What happens when you are asked to push a child on a swing? "Higher, go higher," she may request of you. Give a child a toy car and watch how she creates paths and ramps so that the car can go farther and faster. A child's fascination with moving objects can inspire numerous scientific observations and experimentation with the basic concepts of physics. In order to really understand motion you have to think about forces, acceleration and mass. Because motion is an observable phenomenon, it allows children to see the effect of their actions on the world around them - the direct connection between each action and reaction.

With so many experiences that invite direct exploration of basic cause and effect, Make It Move (MIM) is at the conceptual heart of DuPage Children's Museum. Children and their adult learning partners can make predictions about what they think will happen next, then test, change the variables and test again! For the youngest children, MIM can help them feel that the world is a predictable place. This Neighborhood is a simple stepping stone to understanding and applying the scientific method. And each exhibit in MIM is designed to foster discovery and cooperative play.

Make It Move is being re-designed and re-engineered with new trestles for higher ramps; a specials lifter to "get the ball rolling"; a new Experimentation Station with a double track, mag-lev "cars" and offset spools. Stay tuned! In future posts we will share more information about how children explore the physics of "making it move" and post pictures from our member opening of MIM on Friday evening.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day is an annual holiday recognizing mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds, in general, as well as the positive contributions they make throughout society. Did you know that Mother's Day is celebrated in other countries, typically sometime between the months of March through May?

Every day is Mother's Day at the Museum as we honor their incredible contributions to their children's learning. As important grown ups in their lives, mothers and grandmothers play a vital role as they and their children learn and interact together. Here are some suggestions to support your child's learning the next time you're in the Museum.

In honor of Mother's Day we are posting a few pictures of mother and grandmother interactions in our Museum.

Join our Flickr group and share pictures of your visit here.