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Hands-on Science Activities

2009 December 24

Just this past weekend I took my youngest to the Spark! Lab at the National Museum of American History. This is one of our favorite areas at this museum. At the lab, scientists demonstrated to the children how water and dry ice (solid state of carbon dioxide) form carbonic acid. It was fascinating to see young kids actively engaged in scientific experiments. One of the best things of these children-friendly museums is that most of the experiments and activities are “hands-on.”  By being able to manipulate the materials and actively participate in the experiments, these activities turn into truly learning experiences. Children remember the information better during these types of activities. An added bonus—these “hands-on experiments” are actually fun! Definitely beats just reading about scientific processes in a textbook.

In the larger Washington, DC area, we are very fortunate to have museums and centers like the Smithsonian Institution and the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore relatively close by. Similar centers and children’s museums exist throughout the country. I would like to share with you a listing of hands-on science centers worldwide . By visiting these centers during the weekend, we can instill in children the love of science and the environment at an early age. Furthermore, we don’t have to be science teachers by profession to try many of these experiments at home. They can be a great activity for the entire family.

Geography should not be an obstacle to visiting some of these locations. With the use of the Internet, you can actually visit these learning centers online. In fact, these sites provide resources for parents, teachers, and kids to increase understanding of the value of science in our society.
That’s a valuable lesson for us all.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    December 24, 2009

    These types of museums are great to have in the community and to take school age children to, especially with school budgets crumbling and school labs and libraries and other support activities being closed down across California with more losses to comge. We have a very goohd hands-on museum here in Orange County in Santa Ana–the Discovery Center Museum. The Bowers Museum is also very good but is more of the traditional museum. Our city library in Mission Viejo has a large children’s picture book and nonfiction book sectionfs that include books on environmental issues and protection and books with ideas for experiments that can be done at home. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  2. Saw permalink
    December 25, 2009

    Great article epa thanks

    Watch Saw Online

  3. SEO permalink
    December 28, 2009

    Last week, I took my 2 year old to the Disney Imagination Institute in Orlando, FL. It was a blast, especially with those 3d glasses. They now have a solar powered flying object and a laser magnifying machine. I was very impressed with both goofy professor guys doing the talking and my kid patiently watching the show and not taking of her glasses.

    Thank you for the information you share here, I can tell you really care about the overall progress and us (average joe-shmoes) learning about it.

    Feel free to visit my site if you like, I have some challenging philosophical articles there:

  4. John Chmielewski permalink
    December 28, 2009

    December 28, 2009

    You mention hands on activities but you don’t provide as source of these things that you and a child might do at home or where to get some necessary objects to teach science at home. Like a prisim to show that white light is a combination of all, or a project showing you how to build an around the corner parascope while looking in it from dark room to show how light is reflected. How can one get a large screw to lft something heavy on it to show that the screw is a series of inclined planes and all sorts of other things.

  5. Lina-EPA permalink*
    December 29, 2009

    Good points. I have added links to such sites in previous blog entries. Will do so again in the near future.

  6. Saw permalink
    March 16, 2010

    These types of museums are great to have in the community and to take school age children to, especially with school budgets crumbling and school labs and libraries and other support activities being closed down across California with more losses to comge. We have a very goohd hands-on museum here in Orange County in Santa Ana–the Discovery Center Museum. The Bowers Museum is also very good but is more of the traditional museum. Our city library in Mission Viejo has a large children’s picture book and nonfiction book sectionfs that include books on environmental issues and protection and books with ideas for experiments that can be done at home. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  7. hipower permalink
    April 3, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this article of Marco island with us.Keep it up.

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