Getting kids involved and excited about science is critical, if we are to get them prepared for the unknown future ahead. But as busy parents that’s not always easy.
Thankfully, there’s a new science experience in town, and we couldn’t be more impressed!
Based at the Queensland Museum, SparkLab is the new installation at the ScienceCentre. With 40 exhibits across three zones, kids can discover how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) affect the everyday world, in fun and innovative ways.
Taking hands-on to a whole new level, there’s something for everyone – boys, girls, young and old… even Mum and Dad will learn a thing or two!
First stop is all about our world and how it works. Dominated huge globe in the middle of the main room, you can explore the changing world, and investigate how matter moves, behaves and changes. Make clouds, see what water looks like when it freezes and more. Here you’ll also find the Science Bar, where there are regular hands-on science demonstrations, and kids can get involved in creating fun chemical reactions.
The next zone looks at how we perceive the world, and do we all perceive it the same way? Play with light and sound as you question, test and discover how we all see and hear the world differently. Compare your perception in relation to other people and animals.
Imprint your own shadow on the wall, wander through the UV room, and learn about how white light and coloured light affects what you see.
The third zone explores how we change the world, and what does this change do?
Explore forces, energy and structures, and use your imagination to design and build to find solutions to challenges.
Build a giant arch from foam bricks, experience how cantilevers can help you lift the weight of a fridge, use magnets to move a pendulum… it’s hands-on heaven!
As you move into the third zone, don’t miss the circuit makers along the wall, where you can create circuits to perform tasks, such as lighting a bulb from solar panels, or using mirrors and circuits to set off a burglar alarm.
If that’s not enough, a really nice addition is the Maker Space. that gives visitors the opportunity to design, make, test and evaluate their creations in response to a ‘big question’ or challenge. The area was filled with craft bits and pieces to complete the challenge – when we were there it was to create something to transport an item down a zip wire. Not one to shy from a challenge, the kids set to work and it was wonderful for them to have a go at the inventing process – create, test, evaluate and fix. After several tries, the sense of achievement when the little plastic cow sailed down the zip wire in its sling made of cardboard and pipe cleaners was the highlight of the afternoon.
Going to museums with kids of different ages is often tricky, but SparkLab appealed to everyone. There were toddlers through to teens there… and everyone was having a blast.
SparkLab is open daily. To reduce waiting times and provide a pleasant experience for all visitors, it is a timed experience, so it’s recommended you book online in advance.
More information at www.sparklab.qm.qld.gov.au