While the Saint Louis Science Center briefly closed to the public earlier this year, it didn’t mean that science shut down. Behind the scenes (and often from their own homes), the Science Center team of educators and staff continued to deliver exciting connections to science.
Collaborating across Zoom, email, text messages, and more, the team filmed and edited short-form video content, wrote blog posts, and drew upon a rich roster of STEAM partners to continue delivering science learning for everyone in the St. Louis region.
Science at Home
In March 2020, the Science Center debuted Science @ Home, a portion of the Science Center website dedicated to keeping the community connected to science learning.
Showcasing videos, at-home experiments, blogs, snapshots of Collections items, and more, Science @ Home met the community right where they were: on their living room couch, at the makeshift homeschool of the dining room table, or wherever else they might happen to be.
Science @ Home’s collection of fun and engaging science content provided access to a wide range of STEAM areas. Ever wonder about the surprising physical strength of a triangle? Want to make a self-watering planter for your garden? How does a magician pull off the classic tablecloth trick (hint: Newton’s Laws of Motion)? Thanks to Science Center educators, members of the community could find out—and those were just a few of the incredible at-home learning activities the team continues to provide.
Daily astronomy facts encouraged people to look up for some nighttime science and discover celestial wonders from the safety of their own backyard.
Science @ Home met the community right where they were: on their living room couch, at the makeshift homeschool of the dining room table, or wherever else they might happen to be.
Science Center events provide a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather and discover science in a friendly and approachable way. They’re at the core of the Science Center’s role as a community hub.
While in-person events couldn’t take place, that didn’t stop the Science Center team from utilizing existing connections to scientists, STEAM experts, and more for special virtual events. Ranging from the science of early childhood learning to a fascinating examination of the honeybees that live inside the outdoor GROW Gallery, virtual events provided opportunities to dive even deeper into science.
Three virtual events in particular stood out for their timeliness and relevance to the STEAM topics of the day:
Learn About COVID-19
Despite closing to the public in the spring, the Science Center team was quick to turn to a robust network of scientists and STEAM experts for a special virtual event to educate the community about the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, the Science Center’s Christina Carlson, Manager of Adult Programs, interviewed Dr. Michael Joshua Hendrix, Infectious Diseases Fellow at Washington University, about COVID-19. Incorporating questions from the community submitted on social media, Christina and Dr. Hendrix helped deliver science-based answers amid uncertain and unsettling circumstances.
The Food Supply Shift
In June 2020, Maddie Earnest, Manager of GROW and Life Sciences, led a panel discussion on how our region is handling the challenges to our food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its economic impact and how our region can move forward.
Panelists included Matt Tiefenbrun of Buttonwood Farms; Blake Hurst, President of the Missouri Farm Bureau as well as a grain farmer and greenhouse grower; and Professor Sarah Low, PhD from the University of Missouri Extension’s College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources.
The Mars Rover Launch
To coincide with the launch of the Perseverance Mars rover mission in July 2020, the Science Center’s Christina Carlson led a live-streamed panel discussion about the mission, Mars, and the future of exploration on the red planet. Panelists included astrobiologist Dr. Aaron Gronstal, thermal systems engineer Belinda Shreckengost, spacecraft operator Andrzej Stewart, and physical Dr. Sheyna Gifford (the Science Center’s scientist in residence).
Viewers submitted questions during the panel for a special Q&A near the end of the event.
Ranging from the science of early childhood learning to a fascinating examination of the honeybees that live inside the outdoor GROW Gallery, virtual events provided opportunities to dive even deeper into science.
Although the Science Center is once again open for in-person visits, educators and staff also continue to offer new STEAM learning content and digital experiences for the St. Louis community. Through Science @ Home and compelling virtual events, the Saint Louis Science Center continues to demonstrate how, despite the very real challenges of the pandemic, it’s committed to providing ways for everyone to connect with curiosity.
Support from donors, Science Center members, and Supporting-level members is instrumental in helping the Science Center continue offering connections to science for everyone in our region. If you’d like to show additional support for our mission, please consider donating to the Science Center’s Annual Fund, becoming a member, or becoming a Supporting-level member.
Want to learn more about how the Science Center and its supporters are making a difference for STEAM learning in the St. Louis region?