Columbia College Chicago students conduct workshop at the Museum of Science and Industry

On Saturday February 4, 2017, Columbia College Chicago students in the STEAMGAGE program presented at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago, Il for the annual Scientists for Tomorrow Family Science Day event. In the event the team would engage with more than 360 students, parents, and teachers from schools and community centers across the city. The schools participating included: Rosario Castellanos Elementary School; James Shields Elementary School; Foster Park Elementary School; Lionel Hampton Fine & Performing Arts Elementary School; Nathan S Davis Elementary School; Peter Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy; Tarkington School of Excellence Elementary School; Socorro Sandoval Elementary School; Edward N Hurley Elementary School; and Charles Gates Dawes Elementary School.

At the start of the event, visiting students and their parents experienced the hidden world of Microcosm introduced by Columbia College Chicago Adjunct Professor, Michele Hoffman. Afterwards, visitors had the opportunity to explore the main exhibits in the museum. Additionally the STEAMGAGE team and students from local high schools who participated in the Junior Research Scientists program volunteered their time and energy to conduct workshops where participants made ultraviolet light-emitting instruments that showed the difference between fluorescent and phosphorescent effects. At the end of the day, a short survey was conducted amongst those visiting.

According to the exit surveys, a large majority of the participants loved the museum, and all it had to offer. Students remarked about how great it felt to explore YOU! The Experience, in which they had a chance to learn more about themselves and their body, as well as the functions of each of their organs are tasked with. Likewise, a clear favorite of the visitors was the Science Storms exhibit. Here they could figure out the causes and effects of natural events in the world such as lightning, tornadoes, and avalanches. One of the other exhibits they had a chance to see was the Transportation Gallery.

Not everyone had the time to wander this exhibit, but it was noted in the exit survey that many were willing to come back just to see it. Here visitors could witness the sheer size of some vehicles such as a United Airlines Boeing 727, 999 Steam Locomotive, and the Piccard Gondola. The visitors were able to see many other exhibits, and even had the opportunity to work with STEAMGAGE, JRS, and SfT staff in a UV Light Workshop. This was a favorite of many of the visitors who came to the museum. Not only were the students able to learn more about ultraviolet lights, but also they were able to build their own device and take it home. This is what is known as a Make and Take session, and it is something SfT utilize in every interaction they have with the community. The students, parents, and teachers all had something to take home from this event, be it a UV light, or a fond memory of the experience they had that day. Nearly everyone who visited wish for a chance to visit the museum again, and the SfT team along with STEAMGAGE plan to as well.

Michele Hoffman-Trotter introduces herself and her project, Microcosm.


Columbia College Chicago International Student, Zihuan (Elaine) Ma, works with students on a UV light.


The high school Junior Research Scientist members are introduced by Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor, Marcelo Caplan.


Columbia College Chicago STEAMGAGE team are introducing themselves in front of more than 300 participants.


Families learning together at the Family Science Day event at the museum of Science and Industry.