One-Cut Paper Stars

Take a full sheet of letter-sized paper and fold it. Then with just one snip of a scissors unfold that same piece of paper and you have a five-pointed star! We like this activity as it introduces the idea of using specific paper folds to create the silhouettes of almost any shape (polygon) with one cut of a pair of scissors. Harry Houdini, the famous magician; describe this “trick” in his 1922 book titled Paper Magic. There are also historical references to Betsy Ross who created the design of the United States flag with its unique 5-pointed stars.Origami mathematics s the study of the geometry of origami. The practical goal of this activity is to engage learners in the material exploration of geometry through origami and paper-cutting.

Tiny Drawings

In this activity visitors create drawings and paintings by looking through stereoscopic microscopes and a set of simple materials: paper, pencils, ink pens, colored pencils, very small tipped paint brushes and colored ink. We first introduced this activity as an alternative way of introducing the microscope that brings together art and science for a yearly event we do at our museum called “Microscope Day” where we invite education and research groups that use microscopes in their daily work to share these activities with visitors.

Stop Motion Animation

A fun activity that allows visitors to bring dinosaurs to life through stop motion animation. We created two panoramic illustrated backdrops of environments with flora and fauna for staging the animations. The two sets come with some DIY vegetation props and a set of detailed plastic dinosaur models. Visitors can choose to use an available smartphone with an animation app on the phone or their smart phone (after they install the free animation app) to record their animations

Sound Sandwich

We’ve found it has been difficult to find the right kind of activities that can give someone with limited prior knowledge, an understanding of how sound works; how vibrations in the air are what we experience as sound. The “Sound Sandwich activity is a great way to explore vibration and the different sound and pitches that can be made.

In this activity you blow across stretched rubber bands to create sound. The harder you blow, the faster the rubber bands move ( or vibrate) producing higher sounds. The slower you blow, the lower the sounds. It uses a few very inexpensive materials – possible all can be recycled from a visit to a store – and turn it into a fun and useful tool to explore and understand sound.

Ready Set Fly

Inspired by Flugtag, the human-powered flying machine event, we turned our Hands-On Science Workshop into a flying machine shop where you’ll get to learn all about the forces of flight, build your own flying machines, and test them out on our human-powered launcher.