Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OMSI Update

So I'm going to have to think about how to do this whole OMSI thing.  I bought the kids some little science journals with drawing and writing space to bring with us.  What I would really love to be able to do is to have them spend a long time on one particular activity at the science museum, thinking about the particular exhibit and drawing and writing whatever might be relevant.  For example, we spent a little time at the fingerprint station; I would have loved to have them each be able to examine every one of their fingers, drawing (in their journals) what the fingerprint looked like and matching it to one of the labelled patterns and writing the pattern names down and so on.  But it just doesn't work.  There's two main problems:

1) The kids lose interest very quickly.  They want to spend about 10 seconds doing something and then go on to the next exhibit.  And I can't expect them to sit around doing nothing while waiting for their siblings to have a turn doing it.

2) Other people are waiting.  OMSI always has a steady supply of people.  It takes some time to, say, take a little photograph of all ten fingers of four different kids and match those up to the patterns.  If we spend all that time on one thing, no one else will be able to look at it.

So, I can keep bringing them, let them wander from one exhibit to the next; they'll have fun, but they won't learn anything.  Or, I can try to force them to stay at one exhibit until they have done it properly, which will make them cranky and piss off any other visitors who wanted to use that station too.  Anyone have any thoughts on resolving this dilemma?


  1. Very cool idea to have your kids engage with the OMSI exhibits on a deeper level. I wonder if you could talk with the OMSI employees and see if they had a suggestion on when to come or how to maximize the use of the exhibit without pissing anyone off. I would think that someone would have asked them that question. As for the kids- I am assuming you have a year membership - after having a free for all day, reinforce to the kids that this time they have to focus on their assignment and you'll visit again and they will have plenty of time in the future to see all of the exhibits. Hope that help :/

  2. The OMSI employees already said Tuesday was their least busy day, so I think that's about as good as it gets.

  3. Pick the "focus" exhibit before you go. Explain to the kids that you're going to do this one first, and what you expect of them at that exhibit, and then make it clear that once they have completed the assignment, they can have "recess" and play at other exhibts without their notebooks etc.