In October, I took a trip to the Lancaster Science Factory. I spent just over two hours there learning about and manipulating exhibits focused around seven STEM topics.
The center’s mechanics and motion exhibits showed the power and impact of force in the most unique ways. There were three ball tracks, all of the same length, that had different hills and heights to show how this impacts the speed of an object. The Pendulum Snake was one of my favorites because I found it so mesmerizing. It included a line of balls hung on individual strings that would sway back and forth when the board that holds them in place was lifted and then let down. I felt as though both of these exhibits could be incorporated into my classroom whether I buy it, or even task the students with making their very own.
The Light and Vision area shows the impact of light, and how humans perceive it. Some of center’s art has different colors shone on them, and others simply have different colors within them to display how optical illusions can be created. I particularly enjoyed a wall that displayed four art pieces that made the art look as though they were actually moving on the canvas and even changing colors. These too can be integrated into the classroom and hung on walls for students to look at.
Some of the other exhibits focused on topics such as electricity and magnetism such as their sustainable energy dance floor that was able to generate energy from movement on the floor, and fluid dynamics such as air, wind, and water. There is a water lab which includes a huge water valve tower in which one can manipulate the pressure and amount of water in particular tubes in order to transfer a ball from one location to another.
Overall, I truly enjoyed my visit to the Lancaster Science Factory and could not believe how fast time flew while I was there. The manipulative exhibits not only taught me more about the components of STEM, but ways in which I can integrate them into my classroom. If there’s one thing that I learned from this trip is how easily these topics can be integrated into my classroom because, while the exhibits were very well made, I too can create my own versions and so can my students.
For more information on this location and other related exhibits, click here.
Thanks for reading!