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My daughters love science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One aspires to be a mechanical engineer for NASA and the other a computer animation artist for Pixar. This means I’m looking to provide them with every opportunity to explore STEM subjects whenever possible. We especially need to help them explore this topics since many studies show that STEM careers are not only a growing field but one which historically has been a challenge for women to pursue. That is why we were so excited to learn about the Curiosity CubeTM!
What is the Curiosity Cube?
What is the Curiosity Cube?
The MilliporeSigma Curiosity Cube is a 22×10-foot, retrofitted shipping container that has been transformed into a mobile science lab. This mobile science lab provides an opportunity for you and your children to explore interactive hands-on experiments.
Each experience takes about 4 minutes, though I admit our experiences took longer than that as my youngest daughter had lots and lots of questions she wanted to ask. The Cube can accommodate about 100 students an hour, and has been traveling all over the country. The Curiosity Cube tour started in San Francisco, and has since made stops in San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle and Laramie, Wyo. With a goal of reaching 350,000 students this year, the mobile science lab will visit more than two dozen locations across the United States. On May 6, 2017 it can be found in Houston at the Children’s Museum from 11 am to 4 pm!
The concept of the Curiosity Cube is based on the successful Curiosity Labs™ program, produced by MilliporeSigma. MilliporeSigma employees contribute their time and walk you through each of the activities, answering questions and inspiring students through discussions about STEM careers and opportunities – even every day opportunities to explore STEM topics in the world around us.
MilliporeSigma’s goal is to spark scientific curiosity and passion early—paving the road to a future filled with innovative breakthroughs, and helping encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Why is this important? Science industry experts agree that hands-on laboratory experiences help spark student interest in science and prime them for interest in STEM careers! So your child can begin or continue to pursue their interest in the topics of science, engineering, technology and/or mathematics.
In the Curiosity Cube
The Curiosity Cube starts with a station outside the Cube where you get geared up -complete with safety goggles – which you get to take home with you! You can also explore the honeycomb of curious questions provided by participants in the Cube from kids just like yours. Some fun questions included “Can we reproduce dinosaurs using DNA?” or “What part of the brain helps you with imagination?” Then we extracted our DNA through a quick and easy experiment. Our host was engaging and informative, not only telling us why we did the experiment the way were doing it, but also providing examples – as well as gathering some from the children – about why our DNA is important and what we can learn from it.
Experiences may differ, but ours included the opportunity to virtually dissect a human skull! On a large screen, we experienced the virtual reality of dissecting a skull as you wave your hands, pinch your fingers and pull the skull apart in a quest to learn where things are in the skull. Specifically we were to find the cerebellum and we learned why that part of the skull is important. We had interactive examples to illustrate balance and a discussion about why the cerebellum is important.
Then we moved on to the microscopes. With a sample of a healthy skull provided by a donation to science, we explored the cells of the brain up close. The details were so specific and interesting. I had to stop the youngest before she even finished getting the words out of her mouth “Can I have a microscope like this one mom? It is WAY nicer than what I have right now.”
Next we explored the world of 3D printing. We watched as a 3D printer worked and discussed how resins and pigments are used in 3D printing applications. We also had some fun brainstorming some ideas for how this could be used in the future. My budding animation artist thought a 3D print of characters would be helpful as animators explored the different looks and characteristics of their imaginary characters. We were able to check out different microbes in 3D and explore a cancer cell.
As you can imagine, no my girls had some questions to ask. The wonderful crew of volunteers had answers, but they also got to write their questions down and explore them together, brainstorming or discussing with the team.
What was our favorite activity? Virtual reality skull dissection!
Experience the Curiosity Cube and Spark Curiosity in your world
The Curiosity Cube is in the greater Houston area for a week. Most of those days they will be visiting different schools in the area. However, as I mentioned, there is one day where the Cube can be found and enjoyed by the public! Head to the Children’s Museum of Houston on May 6, 2017 and try these experiences with your children. Spark some of your own curiosity, as well as your child’s, through engaging, interactive and educational opportunities.
Where can you see The Curiosity Cube next? After Houston it heads to Kansas City. Be sure to visit their interactive map online to see if it is coming to a city near you. Teachers or school administrators can use the interactive map to look for a location near them and apply to have the cube visit their school! How cool is that?!
Experiences like this can last a lifetime. Children will become confident in science and these other topics by exploring them in a fun and engaging way, as well as solving the simple problems provided during the experience. As their confidence grows so will their knowledge, interest and enjoyment of STEM topics, providing them with amazing and interesting pathways to explore in the future.