Explore Hands-on Science Learning With the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Bring science to life with the help of the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere! The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago offers one-of-a-kind exhibits, high-quality education programs, engaging science experiences and innovative online resources. Our vision is to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering.
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago – Engaging science activities
Items found around the home or inexpensively purchased can make great science and engineering lessons. Check out MSI’s roster of online experiments (www.msichicago.org/experiment/hands-on-science/) to learn about physics, environmental science, biology, chemistry and more.
MSI’s free Summer Brain Games program provides hands-on learning with a STEM focus. Kids can be a science superhero and control the weather, make a custom vehicle and even learn a few science tricks that will convince friends they’re telepathic and telekinetic. Other activities focus on space science, travel and exploration, and even a fun science carnival with science-fused games. Find all the resources at www.msichicago.org/summerbrain.
“We’ve designed these experiments to help kids and parents see that science really is fun, is everywhere in their daily lives, and can even be done in your backyard,” said Bryan Wunar, MSI’s director of community initiatives.
It’s easy for parents to get involved with learning, thanks to resources from MSI. Research shows that when parents effectively discuss STEM education and careers with their children, students showed increased STEM course-taking in high school, leading to higher math and science scores on standardized tests.
Here’s instructions for one of MSI’s most popular science activities … slime!
Borax, glue, water, food coloring (optional), stirrer, measuring spoons, small container with a lid, cup
- Measure 1 teaspoon of borax and pour it into the small container. Measure 2 tablespoons of water and add to the small container. Close the lid on the small container tightly and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Set aside when done.
- Pour 3 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of glue into the plastic cup. Stir.
- If you would like colored slime, add a few drops of food coloring to the glue and water mixture and stir.
- While stirring, slowly pour the borax solution into the glue solution. Try to pour the borax solution all around the plastic cup, and leave any undissolved particles of borax in the small container.
- Mix well. You may need to squeeze the slime with your hands to make sure it’s well mixed.
White glue is loaded with long chain molecules that are called polymers. Borax links those polymers together into a big network; this is called cross-linking. The result is even larger polymers that create a thickened slime. The primary polymer in white school glue is called polyvinyl acetate.
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago – Online games, videos and apps
Experience science hands-on with our web and mobile-based apps.
Incredible phenomena are happening in your body all the time. But have you ever stopped to think about what keeps you breathing, how information travels from your senses to your brain instantly, or any of the other amazing things that constantly happen to keep you alive? Now you can jump inside the human body and participate in these physiological processes to help Fred outrun danger in the woods.
Try this interactive, which shows a pregnancy’s impact on the mother’s body as her insides must literally Make Room for Baby. Watch the impact of a pregnancy on a mother’s body as she adjusts physically and mentally to the changes inside her. Watch the internal transformation while mothers describe in their own words what they experienced and felt during their own pregnancies.
There are spare robot parts all over the Museum. It’s the job of Twitch to go and collect them. It won’t be easy, and that’s the problem: our adorable-but-lazy friend likes things easier. It’s up to you and Twitch to use found objects to create simple machines, devices that will help him solve challenges with a minimum of force, collect the parts and stay out of trouble.
Featuring the same highly realistic visual elements as YOU!’s Giant Heart, the Virtual Heart app invites users to explore multiple views of the human heart: an external view and three internal views that realistically depict the heart’s valves, blood flow and electrical system. Offering an internal journey into the human heart most people may not have ever experienced, users can choose to turn on labels that identify different areas of the heart’s structure and can slide their finger up and down the screen to change the view of the heart from external to internal. Red and blue color streams visualize blood flow, and flashes of light highlight the heart’s electrical system.
Experiment with chemistry virtually anywhere with goREACT! In this drag-and-drop laboratory, combine elements from the Periodic Table to create chemical reactions and discover the chemistry in the world around you! With goREACT, you can become a virtual chemist. Whether you’re a novice or expert, the free play and guided modes make it fun and fascinating.
Home school opportunities at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
If you live in the Chicago area, field trips to the Museum of Science and Industry make a great science lesson. Illinois home schools receive free Museum Entry and school group discounts on Giant Dome Theater films and special exhibits. Just reserve your visit online at least 24 hours in advance at www.msichicago.org/visit/groups-and-field-trips/field-trips/home-school-reservation-form/.
Individual home school students can participate in specially scheduled Learning Labs – facilitated, hands-on learning experiences for groups that are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. These monthly home school sessions explore chemistry, simple machines, forensic science and more. Learn more at www.msichicago.org/education/field-trips/learning-labs/home-school-labs/.
If you can’t make it to MSI, you can use our classroom resources at home! Each Learning Lab includes free classroom activities, website resources and key concepts and vocabulary. Check out these examples for our Simple Machines lab, designed for ages 7 to 11.
Investigate how simple machines work, and how distance affects force. Go on a simple machines scavenger hunt and see if you can identify all six types: wedge, inclined plane, screw, lever, wheel and axle, and pulley.
Download and print our Simple Machines Student Guide: www.msichicago.org/fileadmin/assets/educators/field_trips/Simple_Machines_StudentGuide.pdf
Get some hints from our Simple Machines Chaperone Guide: www.msichicago.org/fileadmin/assets/educators/field_trips/Simple_Machines_ChaperoneGuide.pdf.
Try these other classroom activities: www.msichicago.org/education/field-trips/learning-labs/simple-machines/activities/.