Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding an audience and starting simply

In addition to our space challenges, we had an audience challenge. Windsor students and their families were not in the habit of coming to the museum. I wasn't sure that even if we advertised something super-cool, we'd get kids to willingly walk in the door. So, we collaborated with the library's after-school program. The kids walk to the library every Wednesday, so the librarian scooped them all up and walked them over to the museum. We had a snack, played with circuits, and parents came here to pick them up. We got the kids AND the parents in the door.

We didn't have a learning lab--just two 8' foot tables pushed together so we could all collaborate and experiment together.  It really was leaping in as I had never experimented with circuits.  I remember learning about batteries in 6th grade, but that is the extent of my education. In fact, in order to prepare, I borrowed a science kit from the Vermont Learning Collaborative and spent a weekend teaching myself before going any further. And so we began, very simply, making circuits from batteries and a string of Christmas lights from my attic and then experimenting to figure out what else could be used to create a circuit.



Christmas lights
AA batteries
Wire strippers & cutters
Old foam core exhibit labels
Electrical tape
Conductive material such as foil, thumbtacks, paperclips
Cost:  $0

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