Member News & Events

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The Nucleus spotlight: Meet the Stuck at Home Science Team!

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When we reflect on this year, it is likely that we will all remember the day our schools and businesses shut down and we turned to our families to be safer at home. For the California Science Center, that day was Monday, March 16. This is also the day we introduced Stuck at Home Science, which was initially comprised of downloadable activity guides released online every weekday free of charge. Our Education team quickly resolved to find new ways to fulfill our mission to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences – even when kids are stuck at home.

By the end of that same week, the program evolved to include videos and the first, making a dramatic entrance, is fittingly called The Big Boom! in which Monica Barajas engages families in mixing baking soda and vinegar to make carbon dioxide and, a home-sized little boom. You may remember Monica from the first of our weekly Nucleus features, Meet Monica! One week after the California Science Center temporarily closed its doors to the public, Stuck at Home Science officially launched with a rocketry theme, 3, 2, 1 Blast Off!

Stuck at Home Science was created so the California Science Center could continue to provide science education opportunities for children, families and educators. The core values of accessibility and inclusiveness that underpin our mission of science learning for everyone clearly guide our program development, with multiple access points such as videos and printable activities, and all the resources made available in English and Spanish.

"Stuck at Home Science allowed us to continue our mission of inspiring science learning in everyone using a new platform. We were able to reach children, teachers and parents through engaging science activities and videos released each day." — Gretchen Bazela, Deputy Director for Education

Nucleus Image - Stuck at Home Science Team

Stuck at Home Science is only possible through the innovative and talented work of the Education Department working in subgroups comprised of the activity writing, translation and two videography teams who work collaboratively with Exhibit Development and Living Collections staff at the California Science Center. At the early part of any week, the teams are well into the production for all the online activity posts for the current week and into the next. Through their vision, hard work and varied expertise we are able to bring fun, engaging activities and content to our communities.

“Many people worked outside of their comfort zones, but through it all, we were able to spotlight the unique expertise and resources of the California Science Center on camera, social media and in our activity sheets. — Nor Oropez, Director of Community and Exhibit Programs

The second week was designed to help families become comfortable with doing science together and literally brought science into homes and kitchens with All Cooked Up! programming that explored Ice Cream Science, made salad dressing in Emulsions, introduced families doing science together to make pickles in Fermentation and closed the week with a delicious breakfast treat familiar to all in Pancake Lab.

Staff who normally deliver professional development training to teachers played a critical role in Stuck at Home Science. This team is composed of educators who have expertise in the formal school environment as well as informal education institutions, such as the Science Center, who worked together to create the videos and accompanying downloadable activity guides.

“The process has been like riding a roller coaster (ups, downs and fast), but as a former educator and as a parent of two young children, I was happy to call upon my experience and insights as we worked through uncertainties.” — Elena Lopez, Professional Learning Manager

If you’ve seen Sticky Snot, you have experienced the outcome of these insights. The video includes Elena’s daughters who make slime in a fast-action scene. Then, they use sticky slime as mucus to pick up spices, something we already have at home and that represent the pathogens we inhale through our nose. This fun and innovative video includes Reggie Williams - whom you may remember from Meet Reggie! – acting as a booger.

“In this COVID-19 environment where we are all adhering to physical distancing recommendations, we wanted to focus on videography that would engage the audience through fun conversations about science and our experiences with science, much like you would experience in the Science Center itself.” — He Sung Im, Community Programs Coordinator

Nucleus Meet Stuck at Home Science Team 2

“Science doesn't happen in black and white” is something you’ll hear Mariela Cerna-Lopez say in a regular Friday feature since mid-April in which she demonstrates how notebooks provide children with a place to write regularly about science and gives them a place to keep track of questions they may have and to document new learnings. Features include Coaster Contest, Big Lab Playground, Baby Chameleon’s Day Out, Three States of Matter and Lift Off!.

“Many times people’s view of science are very black and white, very fact based. With these videos we wanted to show that there is so much more to science than isolated facts. The drawing videos connect to the learning themes of the week and give children and families at home an opportunity to experience science in a different and engaging way.” — Mariela Cerna-Lopez, Teacher Specialist

In mid-May, we entered a second phase of Stuck at Home Science in which curators start each week by engaging viewers in exhibit gallery themes for four weeks. We are learning together at home and gaining awareness of the educational resources available at the Science Center to extend your learning on your next visit. Last week our Curator of Life Sciences Dr. Liz Roth-Johnson delivered a Bio Chat that introduced us to the World of Life exhibit themes to help discover connections between all life forms. We began this week Pushing Against Gravity with our Curator of Aerospace Science Dr. Ken Phillips who demonstrated potential and kinetic energy using blocks; gravity by throwing a ball in the air; and an orbit by swinging a ball on a string, illuminating how spacecraft from our Air and Space collection had to build the speed to escape the force of Earth’s gravity and travel into space. Next week we will visit Creative World and examine human invention. And finally, we will tour Ecosystems to learn more about how everything is connected – plants, animals, people, weather, water, soil are all part of a delicate balance.

The Stuck at Home Science online series has been extremely successful with more views from the website and social media engagements than any educational program of the California Science Center. As well, Stuck at Home Science has received nationwide media attention. You can find a round-up of news stories in the full issue of The Nucleus. The Education team looks forward to continuing to adapt our programming to ensure accessibility and inspire science learning.

Download more issues of The Nucleus

May 29, 2020 issue featuring the Stuck at Home Science Team!

May 21, 2020 issue featuring Dr. Perry Roth-Johnson, Assistant Curator for Aerospace Science

May 13, 2020 issue featuring Evelyn Serrano, Assistant Manager of Science Live! Programs

May 7, 2020 issue featuring Dr. Liz Roth-Johnson, Curator of Life Sciences

April 29, 2020 issue featuring Reggie Williams, Community Coordinator

April 24, 2020 issue featuring Misha Body, Director of Husbandry

April 15, 2020 issue featuring Devin Waller, Exhibit Project Manager

April 9, 2020 issue featuring Monica Barajas, School Programs Coordinator

Important message to our valued members and supporters:

The California Science Center is closed temporarily as of Monday, March 16 to support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure includes all Science Center exhibitions, IMAX films, events and programs.

The health of our community—including guests, staff, volunteers and neighbors—is a top priority for the California Science Center. Accordingly, we are following guidance from state and local health authorities as we closely monitor and respond to this rapidly changing situation.

The Science Center’s living collections team will continue to provide on-site animal care and operate critical life-support systems in the Kelp Forest exhibit and other living environments.

Until we are able to reopen to the public and welcome guests back to the Science Center, we will continue supporting science learning for everyone through "Stuck at Home Science" activities available on our website.

We are also offering a flexible rebooking and refund policy. For those who have purchased IMAX or exhibition tickets and would like to reschedule or request a refund, please call our Reservations Department at (213) 744-2019 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For Members with IMAX or other vouchers that may expire during the closure, we will be happy to provide extensions. Please contact the Membership Department at [email protected] or (213) 744-7504.

We will keep our community informed of further updates by email, on our website and through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you for your continued support of the California Science Center Foundation during this challenging time. We wish you and your family well.

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