Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) play pivotal roles in just about everything we do. A new permanent exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis shows how something as simple as drinking clean water requires the work of hydrologists, chemists, and more. When it comes to science and its role in what happens around us, science creates an infinite number of opportunities for personal and educational growth.
The reimagined Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks reopens to the public on Saturday, August 27th at 10 a.m. The exhibit is designed to help children and families understand how scientific observation plays a significant role in everyday life. Hands-on activities will help families discover how farmers use science, technology, engineering, and math to raise healthy crops. Explore a cave environment and see real tools geologists use to explore and map caves and underwater systems. Meteorologists appear on TV every day; but by examining the actual data used to track storms, families can get a much better feel for the scientific thought that goes into making those predictions.
ScienceWorks encourages thinking beyond traditional notions of science in order to see its wide range of uses. By learning about real scientists in action, building on what is already known through research and discovery, children and families can better imagine themselves in roles that will use information and technology to solve current problems using science.
“Our goal is to help children and families understand what real scientists do in terms of water conservation, the importance of arable land, and how they care for soil and nutrients. The hope is children and families are inspired to be good stewards of our local waterways and ponds. We want to help our visitors understand the science behind our natural resources and that each person has a valuable role in the preservation of vital elements of our planet,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum.
Throughout Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks, children and families are invited to play the role of many types of scientists including geologists, chemists, biologists, geneticists, naturalists, meteorologists, farmers, hydrologists, and engineers. Hands-on interactives and interpretative programs create more fun ways for families to learn together.
Visitors can take on the role of a farmer harvesting a field of crops through pretend play as they sit behind the controls of a real combine cab donated by John Deere.
“Bringing science to life for families is essential work, with science literacy being vital to advancing and protecting our planet.” said Tim Hassinger, Dow AgroSciences President and CEO. “We are committed to nurturing this understanding plus encouraging youth to consider a STEM-related career.”
In multiple areas of the 10,500 square foot exhibit, there is a strong regional emphasis with a personal Hoosier touch. The new water table recreates the Mississippi River and allows budding scientists to operate locks and levees in the Indiana watershed system. The Mississippi River simulation shows the daily tasks of a hydrologist, like manipulating the dam and moving cargo boats and their supplies down the river. In the pond area, live Indiana native species such as fish, turtles, toads, and frogs, will be swimming and hopping around to help demonstrate their importance on the ecosystem. Live feedings are sure to draw the attention of all visitors throughout the day.
Naturalist notebooks throughout the exhibit invite visitors to document what they observe as well as explain what may be happening. Simulations of actual experiments, such as testing sick tomatoes, encourage families to have a conversation about how scientists use all five of their senses to make informed judgments about the world around them.
The new Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks has been fully-funded thanks to the generosity of Dow AgroSciences through The Dow Chemical Company Foundation. The Watershed is presented by Citizens Energy Group.
“Citizens Energy Group appreciates the opportunity to sponsor the Watershed portion of the exhibit that allows families to better understand where our drinking water comes from and the tremendous importance water has in our daily lives,” said Jeffrey Harrison, President & CEO, Citizens Energy Group.
Dow AgroScience ScienceWorks is yet another significant building block of the museum’s plan for The Heritage Group Center for Family Learning in STEM.
About The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children's Museum, visit www.childrensmuseum.org, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, Facebook.com/childrensmuseum and YouTube.com/IndyTCM.