Date: Jan 10, 2014
Partner: Ontario Science Centre
Project Members: Natalie Charette, Jennie Fiddes, Katrina Lougheed, and Caitlin Tracey-Miller
One of the primary features of the website will be an exhibit exploring application fashioned from a repurposed timeline widget. The divisions of the timeline will be used to display our various content, organized around four exhibits – the cave, the music studio, the sneezing boy, and the marketplace. This timeline will include introductions to the four areas and related activities, videos, children’s artwork, and pdfs with explanations of learning outcomes and other fun and educational activities for caregivers to do at home with their little explorers!
We set up tables at KidSpark and collected drawings from visiting kids. The children were asked (depending on their age) to draw “science”, what they liked best about the Science Centre, or what they had done during their visit. We engaged the children as they were drawing and recorded in detail what they said about their artwork. We’ve curated an online gallery of 25 of the most compelling drawings. These pictures demonstrate the artists’ varying interests and their levels of scientific understanding.
We felt that children’s input was a vital part of our project because it showcased their interpretations of their own art, allowing them to express why they had chosen to draw the images the way they had. Their artwork will be used to provide insight into how children perceive and express scientific concepts, as well as their own exploration of science and the Science Centre.
There is a video for each of the following four exhibits: the Cave, the Marketplace, the Sneezing Boy, and the Music Studio. These videos combine footage of children playing, early childhood education interns explaining the exhibit’s learning outcomes, and parents discussing how their children interact with it. We have also created shot lists for videos that will be embedded on the homepage, including children’s responses to the questions “What is science?”, “What do scientists do?”, and “What experiments have you done?”
The OSC wanted a website that specifically addresses the kinds of learning promoted by their exhibits and explains to caregivers how children learn through play. The website incorporates feedback from children, parents, and early childhood education interns. By combining these three perspectives, we have sought to achieve a balanced and well-rounded summary of how KidSpark facilitates scientific discovery for children of many ages, interests and learning styles. We felt that by showcasing children in interviews, videos, and drawings we could underscore the way KidSpark exhibits help children enjoy and learn about science.