More than a Moment of Science at the Technorama Science Centre

Hands-on learning of scientific concepts, interactive activities, and high-tech fun, saw student curiosity on full display during a day trip to The Swiss Science Centre Technorama in Winterthur. 

More than a Moment of Science at the Technorama Science CentreA visit to the Swiss Science Centre Technorama will certainly put to rest any doubts as to whether science can be fun. To complement ICS Grade 4 classroom explorations into the central idea that Societies can take advantage of the properties of materials, students were provided with an immersive experience at the Technorama. As one of the teachers stated, “Students will have many opportunities to think like scientists as they investigate materials, material properties, and the concept of change”.

Arriving at the Technorama, the class seems acutely keen to discover all that awaits on this day of exploration. First, the youngsters are advised on safety protocols, to tour the exhibit rooms by study group, and to pay special attention to the key concepts that they had been studying, namely, Form, Change and Function.

On the first floor, an array of interactive displays could be viewed featuring titles such as Icy Bodies, the Turbulent Globus, Meanderings, Stormy Sea, Bottle Vortex, Tornado, and Cloud Rings. The youngsters read the informational texts that accompany each item and are fully engrossed in the inquiry into the natural world and its laws. For example, the ‘Plughole Vortex’ demonstrated per a student, “how the vortex changes as the lever is moved”. Another well-liked exhibit, ‘The Oscillons’ asked visitors to examine what patterns they can make by prompting weak or strong vibrations.

Whilst engaging with the multiple interactive displays, the students could more deeply understand how materials can be classified by their properties and behaviours, how materials can respond to processes of change, and how the properties of materials are manipulated and used. A teacher asks the children to observe “reflexions with a hidden message”, and to “see what happens”, which has the youngsters fixated. 

On another floor at the Centre, the students investigated a labyrinth of wooden creations of complex artistry, entitled “The Sound of Wood - machines out of his tree“ by renowned designer Pierre Andrès. The singular installations are made for turning on and off, pulling / pushing, and stepping on, and as suggested, do make wood instrument-type sounds. After a lunch break, the class tours the Magnet Room, where they are met with the slogan ‘Magnetic or Electric - it’s all relative!’ One exhibit examines induction and relative motion, and reveals, “This experiment was the starting point for Einstein’s special theory of relativity”. Another exercise called “Maxwell’s Wheel”, is based on James C. Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism; and, the students familiarise themselves further with his theory that light was electromagnetic radiation.

The interactive experiences provide an optimal arena in which to dig deeper into in-classroom discussions onproperties of materials, categorisation, behaviour, uses of materials, changes of state, transformation, chemical and physical changes. Furthermore, the youngsters are able to learn and apply features of instructional and explanatory writing specifically connected to the scientific process. 

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