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Published July 31st 2017
Push buttons at Scienceworks
By Cameron Burke - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56201146
Scienceworks is a great day out for families with primary school aged children. There are lots of buttons to push and physical movement activities to engage little kids. There's something for everyone. They can 'race' Cathy Freeman or climb a rock wall, there are devices to measure weight, arm span, or finger grip strength and bikes to ride that propel the pedals for the skeleton hanging in the air above their heads.
The Lightning Room demonstrates the electrical charge build up required to produce lightning and the Melbourne Planetarium offers visitors a chance to gaze up at the night sky and learn about the constellations. Both of these experiences ensure that children can engage with the scientific concepts in a fun way.
We visited as part of a Grade 4 school excursion. The presenters were full of energy and good humour. Using a fitball to represent the sun and a ball bearing to depict the earth they asked students to choose from a range of everyday balls to estimate the sizes of the other planets. This kind of activity reinforces the lesson in a very practical and visual way for kids. However, the sound engineer room was the clear winner of the day and offered the most fun for 10 year old kids. They were able to use light and sound to create 'feelings' for their peers. Creepy music, doors slamming or creaking, and dim blue lights created a feeling of fear. Other possible feelings they could engineer were calm, happy or sad.
The Scienceworks shop sells lots of science toys and puzzles at different price points, so that little ones can take home an educational souvenir from the day.
The onsite café sells a range of party pies, nuggets and chips for the kids and healthy options (salads and sandwiches) for those who want them. Also, there is a great playground and oval for kids to run around on to burn off some energy.
This is a really cost effective family outing and an excellent way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy winter weekend.