Badge: Science Center – Creation

SC01_04URLWhether you’re looking for science activities for a single evening event, a full-day Saturday event, a day camp or even a semi-permanent display, many science events can be created to be “reusable” so many children can explore them. Each exhibit needs to have more than things to look at. It needs an activity to keep your visitor engaged. This might be a challenge, skills they can practices or anything else that is “hands-on”.

NOTE: This Science Center set is designed to be more of a learning experience than a visual showpiece.

 

 

Steps

 

Pre-Planning Your Science Center

1. Visit other Science Centers.

I’m not suggesting you go to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (though it is really cool). Check out smaller science centers, permanent installations at schools, classroom science centers and more to pull ideas for your Science Center. See how they build their exhibits, especially the lower tech ones. Take notes of the exhibits, how they are assembled, etc. If they allow you to take pictures, do so.

2. Determine your location.

Where will you be having this event? Can you use the school gymnasium or cafeteria for an evening? Are you looking at an empty piece of land for a weekend? Is there an old building that isn’t being used that you can utilize for a month? Determine where you will be having your event. Create a rough layout so you can work on including your exhibits in the area you have available.

3. On-site availability.

You’ll need to measure door sizes, ceiling heights, locations of electrical outlets, HVAC registers, lighting and other fixed items. Keep these handy as you work on exhibits. You may need to adjust your exhibits to the available space.

4. Portable or permanent.

Are you planning on making your center permanent? Can you pack up the exhibits and create a moving center that can be used at schools, youth centers, etc.? Sometimes a simple design change to your exhibits allows them to be taken down and put back up again with minimal effort.

5. Storage.

If you’re thinking of making a portable Science Center, locate a storage location where you can house the exhibits when they are not in use. Even if your center isn’t portable, you’ll need somewhere to store unused exhibits, tools, non-reusable materials and more. Determine the space you’ll need. Do you have a place to store materials? Is it accessible to everyone who needs to retrieve items?

6. How long will it operate?

How long will your event last? Are there issues with leaving your materials up for a period of time? Can you get enough volunteers / workers to be there for the duration of the event? Explore reasonable lengths of time for your event.

7. Durability.

For a short event, like an evening, materials do not need to be as sturdy as a semi-permanent exhibit that you plan to use for a month. Keep durability in mind as you create your exhibits.

8. Resources.

What do you have available? Is there water? A large amount of space? The resources that come with the location will dictate the “exhibits” you can offer. If the area does not offer the resources for the exhibits you would like, find if there is a way to create these resources on-site.

9. Your visitors.

Who will be visiting your center? You want to have this person in mind when you design your center. If you plan on having people of many abilities and ages using an exhibit, choose a representative of each. As you look at the exhibit, try to do so from your visitors’ eyes and determine if the exhibit works for them. Your ideal visitor(s) will need to be able to get to areas easily, move within them, get into and out of the location, etc. Keep the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind.

10. Restrictions.

Your venue, age of participants and other restrictions may limit your choices of activities. In addition, something as simple as a lack of electricity at an outdoor camp may severely limit your “exhibit” choices. Your location may dictate time of access, areas allowed and other rules you need to follow. Review your restrictions and determine how you can overcome those that eliminate the “exhibits” you would like.

11. Theme.

Do you intend to limit your Science Center? You might want to stick to a branch of science, a theme or even limit your exhibits to feature local and natural information. Keep this in mind as you’re working through possible exhibit ideas.

12. Sharing with others.

Sharing your Science Center with others allows you to utilize a larger pool of volunteers and experts. In addition, sharing also allows more people to enjoy your final efforts.

For example, if four service units are hosting their own day camps and they agree to do a “Science Center”, you could share the work and costs to make it less prohibitive for any one of the four. In addition, you might be able to let your council help by offering them a weekend event or two with your Science Center when the day camp isn’t using the exhibits.

Another example might be a community that utilizes an empty building where Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Lions Club and other local organizations all work together to provide a free Science Center for local elementary children for a period of a month or two to allow them to learn more than they could in a classroom.

13. Additional activities.

Review the following list of possible activities that you might want to add to your center in addition to the exhibits themselves.

  • Snack area
  • Shop
  • Create your own experiment area
  • Live experiment area
  • Community garden
  • Expert presentation area
  • Common room to gather groups or to do group activities

14. Up front costs.

Inevitably, there will be some items you have to pay for. Ask your community to donate items that you need from your exhibit list. Find sponsors / donors to help offset the cost. You may also have a fundraiser to help pay for items that you cannot get donated.

 

Populating the Science Center

15. Exhibits.

Brainstorm your exhibits. What might you like to include? Do you have a theme? Are you focusing on only one type of science? Do you have the resources on-site for the exhibits?

Check out the badge program “Science Center 02: Exhibits” to get more into the exhibits you might want to share.

16. Accountability.

Is your Science Center designing mainly to deliver hands-on fun? If you actually want to guarantee that visitors interact with your exhibits, you need to hold them accountable. This might be by providing a sheet with a question or two from the exhibits you want them to visit, recording variables of an experiment, describe what they did, etc.

17. Find collaborators and volunteers.

Find help in your community to plan your center as well as build the items you need. Collaborators can help you plan, reimagine and troubleshoot your initial ideas.

For volunteers, start with organizations that can help with a specific skill, such as carpenters helping with building exhibit stands. Don’t limit yourself to professional people. Many people have hobbies that they are experts in that can help. Brainstorm possibilities for volunteers.

In addition, you’ll need people to be available during your exhibit. These people might give explanations of why certain experiments work, may direct people to exhibits they missed, or work in one of your special areas doing live experiments.

18. Printed supplements.

From signs explaining how the experiment works to a possible passport so participants can make sure not to miss any of the exhibits, printed materials can add to your Science Center. A master CD or binder can allow others to recreate your Science Center and / or replenish printed materials as needed.

For any printed items that you plan to remain with the exhibit, laminate them to increase durability. This includes the name of the exhibit, the steps for the experiment or description of why it works.

If you’re planning a portable exhibit, make a binder with instructions for setting up the exhibits, what materials go with each exhibit, etc. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself later.

19. Adding your own.

As you create your Science Center, keep your brainstorming lists, exhibit ideas, etc. handy. Share any items you have that have not been provided with this badge program to share with others and help improve their programs.

20. Breathe.

I realize the badge set is huge compared to the others I’ve done and you may feel overwhelmed. Take one step, one activity or one supplement at a time. There was so much more I wanted to include, but had to stop it somewhere. Don’t feel this is exactly how you need to work through this badge set to create a Science Center.

You may simply ask the science teachers in your school district to bring in their favorite experiments and do an evening of science and leave it at that. Let your resources, knowledge and volunteers be your guides through this process.

 

Supplements Available

This badge program does not have supplements, but some of the other parts of the set do. Check out the Science Center X (Exhibit Idea) badge programs below for ideas and supplements.

 

Science Center Badge Set

  • Science Center 01: Creation
  • Science Center 02: Exhibits (general)
  • Science Center 03: Little Additions
  • Science Center 04: Shop
  • Science Center 05: Support
  • Science Center X: Animals
  • Science Center X: Build
  • Science Center X: Color
  • Science Center X: Detective
  • Science Center X: Earth
  • Science Center X: Experiment
  • Science Center X: Games
  • Science Center X: Human
  • Science Center X: Light
  • Science Center X: Movement
  • Science Center X: Nature
  • Science Center X: Senses
  • Science Center X: Tech
  • Science Center X: Water

 

Also check out these Enrichment Project badge programs created as supplemental material for the Science Center badge set.

  • Hooked on Science
  • Instructables
  • MAKE
  • Science in a Box
  • Super Charged Science
  • Try Science
  • USG Science Resources

 

Sites to Explore

 

To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_SC01_Creation

 

Badge: Go Make Something

Go Make Something

 

MakeSomething_04URLGo Make Something is a site that provides information, printables and more for aspiring artists.

 

Steps

 

1. Ten Two Studios / Lisa Vollrath.

tentwostudios.com

Lisa’s shop is Ten Two Studios. She provides gomakesomething.com as a place for free learning, printables and more. Learn about Lisa and her shop.

2. Go Make Something.

gomakesomething.com

Lisa wants you to be creative and go make something. She started this as a place to put the items she’d written about altered art and paper crafts. She ran it from 2004 to 2012. Check out the FAQ to learn more.

NOTE: Lisa might be a little abrupt, but she is a truly giving and helpful soul.

3. Patreon campaign.

In 2014, Lisa started a Patreon campaign to help offset the cost of the site. After all, giving stuff away free and then paying for the site as well as working on it means she’s paying for others to get her free stuff. Learn about what a Patreon campaign is.

4. Basics.

Click on the “Basics” tab. You’ll find information on altered books, themes, glue types, etc. There are also a listing of “how to” lessons. Watch one or two lessons. Are these things you might be able to learn and share with others?

5. Printables.

From ephemera to artist trading cards to faux postage (and about everything in between), Lisa offers it to you. Look through her files. Is there anything you might be interested in using for your own project? If so, download a copy and put any notes you have with it.

6. Swap.

gomakesomething.com/business/10swapthings

Looking to swap the items you make? Check out Lisa’s article for the basics.

7. It’s not yours.

While Lisa offers printables and instructions for free, they are not yours to sell and / or distribute “as is”. She does allow you to use her information and materials to make your own creations. If you use her items, be sure to mention where you got the images you use and perhaps even provide a link to her site as a way to thank her.

8. Do what it says.

You’ve explored the site. Now, do what it says . . . go make something!

 

Sites to Explore

See links in the steps above.

 

To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Go Make Something

 

Badge: Do Something

DoSomething_04URLDo Something is a great site that helps you start thinking about service and what you can do to help others. It is designed for teenagers and young adults. Explore the site and take notes as you do.

 

 

Steps

 

1. Do Something.

www.dosomething.org

Do Something is one of the largest global organizations that is designed for young people to change their world. At about 3.5 million members, they tackle any challenge. Look through the site and learn about the site / organization.

2. Keep up with the latest.

blog.dosomething.org

Keep up with the happenings on Do Something by following their blog. Check out the site listed with this step to see what is happening!

3. Explore campaigns.

www.dosomething.org/campaigns

Explore the campaigns on the site. Find one or more that you might suggest to young adults.

4. Share my campaign.

www.dosomething.org/campaigns/submit-your-idea

Check out the submission rules about submitting your own campaign.

5. Clubs.

Do Something no longer runs clubs. Some people felt that having clubs gave the perception that they were exclusive. How can you share the projects and information on the site without starting a specific “Do Something Club”?

6. Scholarships.

Scholarships are available to people 25 or younger in the US or Canada. All you need to do is complete a campaign and prove it by showing  yourself in action. Check out more information on scholarships in the FAQ.

7. Internships.

High school and college students can get an internship with Do Something. Check out the requirements.

8. Volunteer.

www.dosomething.org/about/sms-volunteer-program

Want to volunteer? You can do so either in person (New York City) or remotely. You need to be 18 or older. Learn more about volunteering with this organization.

 

 

Sites to Explore

See links in the steps above.

 

To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Do Something

 

Badge: Backyard Camping

BackCamp_04URLStart your outdoor camping progression by camping in the backyard. If someone can’t make it through the night, it’s easy to go inside and make a quick call.

 

 

Steps

 

1. Planning.

Just like any other trip, you need to plan. Start with the number you plan on attending. If you’re doing this as part of an organization, be sure to consult any rules they have.

From there, determine the activities, food and space you’ll need. Make a tentative schedule with your campers to start the process.

2. Cleaning up.

Before camping in your backyard, be sure to clean it up. From picking up sticks and rocks to removing animal waste to trimming bushes, you’ll want everything neat and tidy. This will minimize the chances of anyone getting hurt in the dark.

3. Night safety.

Moving around at night can be hazardous. There are steps you can take to make it less so. Walk around your backyard at night. What things might your campers need to be aware of? What safety concerns might come up in your backyard? Can you do something to minimize these? Prepare to share these items with your campers.

4. Insects and allergies.

Many people have allergies. This includes insect repellent. If you are planning on using anything your campers might be allergic to, be sure at least two people know what to do in case of an allergy attack. Be prepared with health forms in case you need to go to the emergency room.

5. Camp buddies.

Insist on the buddy system. It keeps anyone from wandering off on their own. Also, be sure everyone knows they are not to leave the property without adult consent.

6. Glow bracelets.

Kids love glow bracelets, but they can have a multitude of uses.

  • Mark cords or tripping hazards
  • On outside door to identify someone is using the bathroom / is indoors
  • Play hide and seek with sticks in the dark
  • Place in balloons, glasses of water, etc. to add glow or support a theme

Find other ways to use glow sticks for safety and fun.

7. Parent partners.

If you have a potential camper who is completely terrified of backyard camping, you may want your first experience to include a same-sex parent. Evaluate your campers. Will each be able to make the entire night? Are there other ways you can include parents at the beginning or end to help reduce camper stress?

8. Rules.

Everyone has rules for their house. Classrooms have rules. Troops and groups have rules. Make a set of rules for your backyard campout. Include your campers in the creation of your list.

9. Kaper charts.

With a larger group, be sure to make kaper charts (or the equivalent) so everyone knows what jobs they are to do. For smaller groups, you can do everything together, but the practice of making and following a kaper chart is good practice for anyone.

10. Tents.

Do you have enough tents for everyone? Are you doing large tents or will everyone have their own small pop-up? Discuss tents and how everyone will be sleeping.

11. Food.

Not only do you want to plan for any meals or snacks (including s’mores), you may want to limit the snacks that are brought in by your campers. A lot of sugar may keep them up late and disturb others. Some foods may attract wildlife. Review how you plan to handle food.

12. Night games.

Choose a game or two and see how you can adapt it so you can continue to play after the sun goes down. Alternatively, you can check out the Enrichment Project badge program “Night Games” for more on games you can play at night.

13. Camp crafts.

Explore camp crafts. Pick one that you’d like to do before or during your backyard camping event. These might include:

  • Sit upons
  • Lanyards
  • SWAPs
  • Water bottle holder
  • Bracelets

Brainstorm a list of crafts you’ve made at camp or ones you’d like to try. Make samples and get feedback from your campers.

14. Edible fire.

Don’t want a real fire? Perhaps you want to practice before doing the real thing. Teaching how with food is a great way to do this. It can also serve double duty as a snack. Look at how to make an edible fire.

15. Fire pits.

Most people don’t have a specified area for burning in their yard. Fire pits have become popular, so you no longer have to damage your lawn. Prepare to instruct your campers on fire safety, how to start a fire and how to put one out.

16. Storytelling.

You may think ghost stories are the only stories worth hearing at a camp fire. Some people don’t like ghost stories and younger campers may be too scared to sleep. What rules might you put in place to determine the stories you tell? Should you limit who tells the stories or should you take turns? Prepare a few stories as examples of what you’d like.

17. Sing along.

Singing around a fire is a lot of fun. From traditional songs to popular ones, there are way more songs to sing than you can do in a single night. Brainstorm ways you might choose which songs to sing.

18. Stargazing.

Planning on looking up at the sky? Be prepared to identify at least a couple constellations and know the story behind at least one.

19. More to do?

You may be planning to do things not covered in this badge program. That’s great! Be sure to check and make sure the activities are safe and if they fall under instructions from your organization.

 

Supplements Available

See the Enrichment Project badge program “Night Games”

 

Sites to Explore

 

 

To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Backyard Camping