KIDS + FAMILIES
It’s the stuff too small to see, but too big to ignore! By the time our kids become adults, they will more than likely be immersed in a new industrial revolution – a science focusing on the super small! One of seven new, cutting-edge, permanent expansion exhibits, Matter Factory takes a closer look at materials science and nanotechnology and debuts on March 14, 2009. It is the result of a partnership with Rice...
It’s the stuff too small to see, but too big to ignore! By the time our kids become adults, they will more than likely be immersed in a new industrial revolution – a science focusing on the super small! One of seven new, cutting-edge, permanent expansion exhibits, Matter Factory takes a closer look at materials science and nanotechnology and debuts on March 14, 2009. It is the result of a partnership with Rice University’s Education Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) and the University of Houston’s Smart Materials and Structures Laboratory.
Step into a whimsical factory and stare straight into the future! The Children's Museum of Houston’s (CMH) Matter Factory gives visitors a glimpse into the concepts of materials science, including properties of matter and potential uses for different substances and smart materials. With 1,350 square feet of exhibit space, children explore how matter matters in our daily lives. They experiment with different matter properties; test and sort materials based on their properties, and examine unique properties of emerging materials recently developed by scientists.
“Matter is everywhere! Matter Factory is a multi-sensory exhibit that encourages kids to investigate and explore the unusual and exciting stuff we touch, smell, see, and hear every day,” said Keith Ostfeld, CMH director of exhibit development.
WHAT’S THE NANO WITH YOU? CMH is one of few informal education centers in the entire country to take on the challenge of presenting nanotechnology—this often complex, yet important subject matter! CMH is excited to be one of the few informal education centers to bring it to an elementary audience. Matter Factory provides a foundational understanding of this tiny technology, including exploring the extreme smallness of the nano-scale, the properties of materials at the nano-scale, and how scientists conduct research at the nano-scale.
“Nanotechnology and smart materials are the science of our future,” said Ostfeld. “From more durable cell phones to buildings which can resist earthquake tremors, nanotechnologists and material scientists have already developed products to help improve our lives. Matter Factory increases awareness of this promising new science and encourages kids to recognize its potential.” Kids also will develop an understanding that everything is made up of matter. They will learn that molecules and atoms are the building blocks of matter as they investigate materials and solve “factory” problems. They will test the invisible properties of matter discovering the density, conductivity and viscosity of different materials. They will interact with what scientists call “smart” materials – materials which have properties that can be dramatically changed!
“Smart materials and nanotechnology are at the apex of current advances in chemistry and materials science,” said Ostfeld. “Children need to have a solid grounding in understanding matter, the properties of matter, materials science and an introduction to both smart materials and nanotechnology if they are to compete, function or become an integral part of this new scientific revolution.”