Impression 5 Science Center
While pre-teens perfected their pitching arm, Dad helped the seven-year-old build and test paper airplanes. Mom and the three-year-old practiced throwing in the Play Space. At Impression 5’s all-new hands-on Throwing Things exhibit, an entire family explored kinetic and potential energy. “Impression 5 strives to engage the whole family together, so there’s no need for families to split up during their visit to the Science Center,” says Laura Zeller, Impression 5’s Director of Communications. Impression 5’s exhibits are designed to engage families with children birth to twelve with dynamic components that are accessible to various heights, abilities, and language comprehension. Impression 5 believes in the power and lasting impact of families learning together. “We see the family as the most powerful learning unit there is because it’s a relationship built on love and trust, which allows for incredible problem solving and a safe space for kids to take the risks necessary to learn,” says Zeller.
While Impression 5 Science Center opened in 1972, there are always new and exciting exhibits to experience. The most recent addition is Think Tank, a new youth maker space, and in June, the Science Center will open a two-story water exhibit called Flow. Unlike some other science centers, Impression 5 designs and builds its own exhibits–each thoughtfully tailored to accommodate families and encourage them to play, create, and challenge their understanding of science together.
The quote on the wall in Impression 5’s maker space explains, “Think Tank is a space for making cool things that values and integrates youths’ experiences and ideas while building confidence in STEM.” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
At Impression 5, Think Tank was one and a half years in the making with a Youth Action Council consisting of kids nine to fourteen providing ideas and giving approval to the final space. A maker space for ages nine to fourteen, Think Tank is all about introducing youth to the idea of a maker identity. A maker space or hacker space can be any place where individuals gather and create. “When hearing about these types of spaces, you often think of 3-D printers, advanced technologies, and lots of specialized equipment,” says Zeller. “But high-tech tools can be intimidating, inaccessible due to cost, and also can require a lot of time or training. Think Tank empowers kids to devise their own solutions to challenges with simple materials and everyday tools.” Each activity presents youth with opportunities to take on the role of a maker to create something completely unique–like making your own stop motion animation video or building a wooden nameplate.
The Think Tank is empowering, accessible, innovative and, most importantly, fun. It uses things that you can easily find at home or borrow, demonstrating to pre-teens and teens that you don’t need anything fancy or expensive to be innovative. After experiencing Think Tank, young people view themselves as makers and solve problems organically. They apply what they learn in the Think Tank to projects or challenges at home. For example, by learning about circuitry in Think Tank, they may feel empowered to tinker with soft circuits at home making crafts or gadgetry. Individuals share skills, ideas, and supplies while frequently working together on projects.
Think Tank incorporates six tool stations that include power tools, a workbench, a cutting station with blades and handsaws, a hot glue station, an adhesive station with magnetic tapes and superglue, and a soldering station.
Flow: A New Water Exhibit
A two-story water room called Flow is slated to open June 30. Flow will explore water movement through various interactive components that allow you to interact with H2O in really cool ways. This exhibit is a project sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lansing highlighting one of Rotary’s missions of helping in-need communities access clean drinking water. Other exhibit sponsors include: Consumers Energy Foundation, PNC Bank, Joe D. Pentecost Foundation, and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Inside Flow, families will be able to use the components to manipulate water up and down the two-story water room. The exhibit will include an Archimedes Screw, a machine historically used for transferring water to irrigation ditches from a lower body of water. A screw-shaped surface inside a pipe pumps water by turning it. There’ll be a water vortex you can manipulate and a giant flywheel you can wind to shoot water 40 feet in the air! Families will also enjoy exploring a water wall where you’ll be able to change water flow by building structures and channels with brick-like pegs.
Summer L.A.B.S. Camps (Learning About Basic Science)
Summer L.A.B.S. day camps offer curious children opportunities to play, create, and challenge their understanding of scientific concepts through hands-on, interactive projects and experiments. All age-specific camps encourage children to have fun and make long-term, meaningful connections to science. Weeklong camps are geared to specific age groups: three to five, five to seven, seven to nine, and ten to twelve. Single-day camps for ages five to ten offer a variety of themes. Registration for Summer L.A.B.S. Camps is open now and the camps run throughout the whole summer. For more information on Summer L.A.B.S. Camps visit www.impression5.org/Visit/ EducationalProgramsCamps.aspx.
Impression 5 Science Center is also participating in Lansing’s city wide “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” event on Saturday, June 3, 2017.
Impression 5 Hours
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Children, 2 and older: $8.50
Children, 1 and younger: FREE
Military and family or Seniors: $7.00
Impression 5 Science Center
200 Museum Drive
Lansing MI 48933