By Sheila Hageman
Stepping Stones Museum for Children opened their new traveling exhibit this weekend, which is based on the Emmy award-winning PBS KIDS GO! math mystery series Cyberchase. The unique, educational and fun exhibit encourages children to make use of their critical thinking skills and approach math with an investigative, positive attitude.
My family visited the exhibit on opening day and spent at least thirty minutes absorbed in “math” fun. The most interesting part was that at no time did my children even seem aware that they were “doing” math! Depending on your child’s age and stage, you can make this exhibit as consciously math-oriented as you like. The best part is that your kids will be absorbing math concepts even if you don’t point that fact out to them.
The fun, cartoon-style exhibits were very appealing to all my children who range in age from one to seven. My oldest most definitely got the most “mathiness” out of it, but my two-year-old was thoroughly engrossed by the bright colors and hands-on activities. Even my one-year-old could pull himself up to some activities and feel a part of the action.
During your visit, you have the opportunity to participate in activities and challenges based around the classic paradigm of good vs. evil in an outer space adventure themed setting.
Some of my kids’ favorite stations included:
Cyber Cycle: My daughter and son took turns pedaling and working a lever up and down to create energy, which they then got to transfer to the central holding center with the touch of a button. The racing, neon-colored lights made this fun to do repeatedly.
Restore the Power: The kids had fun snapping the power circuits into place as my husband teased me about it being a good time to learn about fractions myself. Being Montessori parents, which is all about hands-on learning, the power circuits really did make it more fun to refresh my fraction skills!
Find Hacker: My daughter and I had lots of fun trying to find where Hacker was hiding—part video game, part magnetic map fun, and oh yeah—part geographical directions—this was just the right challenge level.
Stop the Launch: Fun for everyone because who doesn’t like to punch brightly colored keys while a timer ticks down, beeping wildly?
There were quite a few other activities that involved building cities with blocks, fitting shapes into cool spaces, fixing broken roads in order to race cars, balancing bean bags, and plunking wooden balls into holes to produce music. And while my children were most often not interested in me pointing out the math-factor to them, they were absorbing concepts while lining up lasers to shoot and battling their wits as they slid colored dragons.
Cyberchase – The Chase Is On! was developed by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Thirteen/WNET New York and is nationally funded by the National Science Foundation. The exhibit will only be around until December 31, 2011.
Admission to the exhibit is included in the regular price:
Children under 1 Free
Seniors (over 62) $10
Open Monday through Sunday
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850, (203) 899-0606