17 December 2009

Exploration Station–A Family Science Event!

Posted by Michael McFadden

How did Bay Area parents keep their rampaging children occupied and excited on last Sunday? By attending Exploration Station, AGU’s family science event.

Children explore infrared cameras at AGU's Exploration Station this yearThis year’s Exploration Station attracted 331 parents, children, teachers to spend four hours discovering how much fun you can have with, for example, infra-cameras (as seen in the picture to the right), Slinkys, ice, mud, miniature planetaria, and radio waves.

For anyone interested in volcanology and seismology, Elsevier’s model volcano display erupted regularly.  Also at regular intervals was the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology’s (IRIS) seismic wave demonstration (six Slinkys connected together). Both demonstrations offered predictability to events that are not usually so regular!

Microsoft offered a three-dimensional tour of Mars and arid regions of Earth, plus a voyage through the deep of space and through clusters of galaxies. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took visitors deep into the Sun and their scientists answered children’s questions via Twitter.
For those who wished to know how to dress for polar exploration, the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States brought a selection of garments from their heavy furry impermeable polar collection for children to try on.

Many visitors spent more than two hours at Exploration Station and one teacher spotted her entire eighth grade class in the room. Exhibitors enjoyed sharing their love of science and watching  children become enthusiastic about experiments and scientific tests. Exploration Station will return to San Francisco next AGU Fall Meeting to inspire, entertain, and inform.

–Paul Cooper, AGU Education and Career Services Coordinator