Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., scholars are required to complete a mobile media reporting module, which includes producing videos and reporting and writing stories. Their work is displayed here.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The exhibits at the Adventure Science Center, including a micro-gravity simulator and a room that lets visitors explore the systems within the human body, are designed to be more than pure fun and games.
“Our mission is to ignite lifelong learning and inspire curiosity amongst anyone who walks in the door,” from infants to grandparents, said Robyn Sellers, an educator and a coordinator of a program that emphasizes the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), along with art.
Educators like Sellers help the center accomplish its mission in many ways. Each educator teaches up to 30 lab-style classes, Sellers said. Classes last from 30 minutes to an hour and focus on scientific experiments and animal dissections.
Sellers said she enjoys seeing the students’ excitement during her classes.
“We get to offer the ‘wow’ factor. That gets something in their mind and helps the memory stay forever, hopefully,” Sellers said. “It gives them something to look forward to during the year if they know they are coming here. That’s a cool factor we get to offer here.”
The hands-on learning complements rather than replaces what students learn in school, she said.
“I definitely feel like our school systems these days have to focus on testing, and I know teachers are pressured to get through materials very quickly,” Sellers said. “They don’t often have the money, time or supplies to provide certain experiences, so I like to think science centers like us are a complement to education in the classroom.”
The center also offers many interactive exhibits to help students get excited about learning. One, called Body Quest, lures visitors with its large depiction of a human brain. The exhibit features a game where visitors can shoot germs with a laser gun and a show that reveals what happens to the brain as a person wakes up. Visitors also can play the role of a doctor by operating on a “patient,” among other activities.
Along with the exhibits and classes, the center offers daily programs and a planetarium show. The center has been a part of Nashville’s educational culture since 1945 and has continually found ways to get students involved.
“We really do a lot of stuff here besides just having our really great exhibits,” Sellers said.