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A hush falls over the room; the first graders are silent. The only sound is the faint bubbling of liquid nitrogen. Slowly, using tongs, a scientist lowers a racquetball into a steaming vat of freezing liquid. Moments later, he removes it. Grinning, he lets the ball drop to the floor. The previously-bouncy ball shatters on impact, and the silence is broken by awed gasps and wild cheers!
The frozen racquetball is one of dozens of experiments showcased during WonderLab’s Interactive Science Shows through the museum’s Outreach program. Demonstrated throughout South Central Indiana to audiences young and old, the ball-drop experiment always receives cheers and whoops.
WonderLab’s primary mission is to create curious and creative problem solvers. Through interactive live science shows, WonderLab brings informal science to schools, parties, or other special events like library programs.
“We want to meet people where they’re at, both physically and mentally,” said Nick Whites, WonderLab’s elementary education specialist. “We do this to help people fall in love with science and make it relevant to their lives.”
In a classroom or at camp, a library or office, or even a favorite brewery, WonderLab’s educators are available to share science and wow audiences. With a wide variety of experiments and interactive presentations, Whites and his team provide a fun, informal science education for all.
Whites recently traveled to Beech Grove City Schools with the WonderLab Tech Takeover Activity Station that teaches coding and robotics. Students kindergarten through fifth grade learned to create secret messages in binary code and explored encrypted information, but robotics took the day. Participants used an app to control a robot’s path into bowling pins, and also programmed Ozobots and Cubelets.
When asked if she thought the kids enjoyed the experience, Director of Elementary Education at Beech Grove City Schools Rita Bass said, “Oh my gosh, yes. The families and kids all loved it. Our gym was jam-packed and every single person was engaged.” And, according to Bass, the kids continued to discuss the event and activities during the following week.
WonderLab takes pride in its dedication to informal science education. Whites and his team design the shows and activity stations to provide a learning experience that feels like play. Each show or station is built from the ground up and tailored to a specific audience and topic.
Shows include an exploration of static electricity with Hair-Raising Science, a dive into real-life inspirations with Stranger Than Fiction, experiments with glowing substances and colored flames in Bright Science, the classic Epic Cold experiment with the frozen racquetball, and the wild world of music and sound with Symphony of Science. WonderLab’s Interactive Science Shows run 30 to 45 minutes. Pricing is dependent on audience size. Up to three shows per day can be booked. Activity Stations with hands-on experiments are also available. Choices include Single Science Stations, MicroFests (3 activity stations), MiniFest (5 activity stations), or the WonderFest (10 activity stations).
Pricing and participant details for both Interactive Science Shows and Activity Stations can be found at wonderlab.org/outreach/assembly-demos. To schedule, call WonderLab at (812) 337-1337 ext. 19 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.