Boston Children's Museum opens a new exhibit on Saturday, July 26, My Sky, funded by NASA and created through a partnership between Boston Children's Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The exhibit is an immersive and inspiring traveling exhibit designed to engage adults and children, ages 5 – 10, in early investigations of astronomical science. It is accompanied by a website, www.myskyexhibit.org that includes a tour of the universe, reveals secrets of the sky, and offers ideas and resources that parents can use to practice science with their children.
The focus of the exhibit is on interactive explorations of objects and phenomena visible in the sky, encouraging families to "look up" not only when they visit the exhibit, but as a practice they adopt in their everyday lives. My Sky introduces children and their parents (or children and adults) to foundational science skills such as observation, pattern recognition, prediction, estimation, and creative thinking. These skills are fundamental to science, and serve as building blocks to later, more complex STEM thinking and doing. "Boston Children's Museum has a long history of creating hands-on, interactive exhibits designed to engage and inspire children," said Carole Charnow, President and CEO of the Museum. "We are delighted to align with NASA and partner with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on the My Sky exhibit. This exhibit presents a great way for families to learn and be inspired by the natural world just looking up at the sky." My Sky has three primary areas of activity: a skate park, in which children explore the Sun; a child's room, where visitors investigate the Moon and the stars; and a backyard that provides experiences about the Sun, the Moon and the stars together.
"The My Sky exhibition is so important because astronomy is an ideal vehicle for parents and children to experience wonder and curiosity together," said Mary Dussault, Science Education Program Manager at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "It's been our great pleasure working with the team from Boston Children's Museum. The project combined the Museum's expertise in childhood development and the creation of experiential learning environments with the resources of SAO's scientists and science educators. It's exciting to see the results of this partnership brought to life in the My Sky exhibition!"
There are four important messages in the My Sky exhibit:
- Looking up together is a practice that families can adopt into their everyday lives.
- The sky is a free learning resource available to all of us, all of the time.
- The sky is ever-changing – this constant flux provides an opportunity for parents to help kids observe, notice patterns, and make predictions.
- By practicing these skills of observing, predicting and recognizing patterns, parents are helping their child to develop as a scientific thinker and a doer of science.
My Sky will be at Boston Children's Museum through January 4, 2015 followed by two installations at other New England children's museums. For additional information, visit www.MySkyExhibit.org.