Inspiration In Your Own Backyard: Let's Go To the Museum!

By: Alexis Jones, Co-Founder IATG

 

 

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Image from activerain.com

 

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Dell Children’s science museum in my hometown of Austin, Texas. It is a playground for creativity, inspiring mayhem and offering a variety of experiments to help explore and discover. There were flying contraptions and air powered adventures that captured both the attention of five year olds and every adult in the room. Standing in that museum surrounded by such innovation, I was reminded that STEM exists everywhere!

There were three main exhibits that I was told to see. The Nano, the Flow, and The Honeycomb. The first exhibit—The Nano, was discovered by nanoscientists. These scientists found that depending on the materials used and the scale of both their atoms and molecules, their properties react differently to magnets. When we look at things we rarely imagine that we’re just staring at billions and billions of tiny atoms, which is astounding. It makes my head spin to think of the world in that way. 

The next exhibit was called Flow.  The demonstration played with the concept of flow with a ping-pong ball through a maze. Depending on the weight, different airflow speeds and power, we had the chance to see how quickly the ping-pong ball could make it through the maze. This experiment pointed out the obvious idea that wind and air can be incredibly powerful even though we can’t technically see it. I remember learning about vectors and gravity in school, but the cool thing about the Dell museum is they helped bring these concepts to our daily lives.

The last experiment allowed us to build our very own honeycomb. In fact, when you entered into the room, there was a life size honeycomb that you could walk through and see just what great engineers bees really are. The sophistication blew my mind!  While I just see walls and a roof, the level of precise math and fundamentals of science that ensure my walls and roof don’t fall down is incredible. It’s crazy to think that bees have been hardwired with such blueprint-oriented minds.

The Dell museum helped reassure me that one is never too old to be reminded about science; from the teeny tiny atoms that are in the fabric of our DNA, to the power of wind flow aerodynamics, to the importance of understating architecture and engineering strong structures. So if you haven’t checked out a museum lately, a national park, or even an interesting school in your neighborhood, I challenge you to get out there and learn something new!

 

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