How to Have a Great Visitor Experience at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

By ANGELA SHAFFER and EZEKIEL McLEAN

As the Boonshoft Museum explores ways of improving the quality of our guests’ experiences, we’ve developed a few approaches to help to ensure that your visit is fun, interesting, and safe. Every trip starts at the beginning, so plan for contingencies before leaving home.

Guests should be prepared to show a photo ID, as members, reciprocal members, and patrons using credit/debit cards will be asked to show their identification. If you have a reciprocal membership card from a partnering institution, please have that card with you as well.

The Museum does not host a cafe or restaurant, so bring along lunch and a few snacks for yourself and your family. You can also purchase items from the Food Chain vending area on the second floor. The Food Chain’s vending machines offer sandwiches, drinks, snacks, and other treats. There are also snacks and beverages available for purchase in the Discoveries Gift Shop near the front entrance of the Museum.

Be sure to dress for the weather, and consider that temperature fluctuations may occur that can make certain areas of the Museum warmer or cooler than average. Also consider bringing a change of clothing for kids, as they can get their clothing wet playing at the water table. You can place items in rental lockers located in the coat room in the front lobby of the Museum and change according to need.

The Boonshoft Museum has designated stroller parking areas – one inside the planetarium, and one just outside the Kids Place area on the first floor. The Museum offers a limited number of strollers and wheelchairs for rent during visits. See a Guest Services staff member at the front desk of the Museum for information.

There are maps and program guides available at the front desk at check-in. Elevators and stairway approaches also offer stationary maps with visitor information. Restrooms are located on each floor, and the Main Exhibition Hall is located on the second floor adjacent to the Food Chain vending area.

The Planetarium screens many unique science shows about topics as diverse as Sky Tonight, with some featuring dinosaurs like Flying Monsters and Did an Asteroid Kill the Dinosaurs? Still, others investigate the amazing wonders of the world. Be advised that they begin promptly on the hour. To ensure seating, be in line in front of the doors of the theater, (note that the line may often extend into the Hall of the Universe) at least five minutes before the start of the show!

If you or your child suffer a minor injury, a bump, abrasion, or simply need to apply a new Band-Aid, head to the front desk as quickly as possible. If you happen to see a Museum staff member along the way, stop them because they may be able to guide you to a closer first-aid location. We will just need you to fill out a quick incident report.

If your child is lost, head to the front desk right away. If you spot a staff member along the way, stop them as they may have a radio and can begin to mobilize others immediately. Otherwise, the front desk can start the process. You will be asked for a description of your child and where they were last seen. A staffer will stay with you should you choose to start looking, rather than stay at the front desk.

Museum staff members will clear areas closest to the child’s last known location. Once the child is found, staff members will communicate over radio how best to reunite the two parties. One of the most common places that parents lose sight of their children is on the climbing tower, as it can be accessed on either floor. If you have young children, have an adult on each level if possible; otherwise, you may want to consider not utilizing the climbing tower during your visit.

These are some helpful suggestions to help you enjoy your visit to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. If you have questions or thoughts that you’d like to share, please contact the Museum at www.boonshoftmuseum.org, or by calling (937) 275-7431.

Cookie Chemistry

You can’t think of the holidays without thinking of cookies! From gingerbread houses to sweet sugar cookies, everyone has a favorite—including a certain someone who is responsible for magically bringing presents to kiddos across the world!

It just so happens that National Cookie Day was last week, and because science and baking go hand-in-hand, we are going to explore the chemistry behind the perfect cookie! Too much flour, different fats, baking soda, and liquids, they all play a roll in crafting your cookie favorites.

First, let’s consider what holds our raisins, chocolate chips, and macadamia nuts together: the dough. Depending on the cookie, the dough can be created using different ingredients. For this example, we’ll use the classic chocolate chip cookie which requires eggs, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, and vanilla. How do these things mixed together go from gooey to great? The answer: Heat causing a series of chemical reactions.

  1. You’ve just placed your dough on the cookie sheet and popped it in the oven. The heat causes the butter inside the dough to melt, which is what causes the cookie to go from a doughy ball to a round flat cookie.
  2. Next, your cookies will blow off some steam—literally! At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the water in your dough turns into steam and the water vapor rises through the dough. Additionally, the baking soda starts to turn into carbon dioxide gas which will raise the cookie up even further.
  3. By now, you’ll start to notice that your cookie is turning golden brown in color, which means your cookie is just about done! Some tasty reactions are happening, including caramelization, when sugar reaches a high enough temperature, it begins to break down from clear crystals and transforms into a brown liquid, and the Maillard reaction.  This reaction combined with reaction from the combination from the sugar and protein from the eggs and flour creates a simply scrumptious result.

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You can conduct your own experiment by making a batch yourself and trying different ingredients, but if you want to make the classic chocolate chip cookie—look no further than this Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

 

7 Back To School Tips For Transitioning Smoothly Into the School Year

Back to school—the three least exciting words for students across the country who have spent their summer having a blast outside, in the pool, or at a summer camp. While some parents may be rejoicing because the school routine is somewhat simpler than entertaining children all day for an entire summer, the transition from summer to school can be quite the challenge.

Kids are used to sleeping in, they’re nervous about school, YOU’RE nervous about school, did your little one finish their summer reading assignments? It’s a lot, right? Well, here are 7 tips (backed by science, of course) that will make you student’s transition back to school as seamless as possible.

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1) Introduce an earlier bed timeSleepingChild

Bed time can be a battle, especially when kids are used to staying up later during the summer. Starting an adjusted sleep schedule that will mirror the one your child will have to stick to during the school year, before school actually starts is always a good idea.

Children between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a sleep, but experts agree most need 10-11 each night. Lack of sleep can affect a child’s mood, ability to concentrate and think clearly, and researchers believe too little sleep can affect your little one’s growth and their immune system—which keeps their bodies from getting sick.

The best way to ease into bed time is with calming activities that establish a routine, like bath time or reading.

2) Turn off the tech.
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Credit: telegraph.co.uk

This may not be a problem for children who don’t have access to mobile devices or televisions in their rooms, but because our society is so plugged in—this is worth mentioning (for adults and kids!).

Studies have shown that short wavelength enriched light – also known as the blue light that is emitted from e-readers, tablets, laptops, smart phones, and flat screen televisions – can disrupt sleeping patterns and deprive your children (and you!) of restful sleep. So, put down your gadgets at least two hours before bed time!

3) Breakfast time.
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Credit: ohsu.edu

While everyone should eat breakfast each day, this especially rings true for children. Growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling from healthy foods. Studies have shown that children and teens who eat breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier throughout the day. Without breakfast parents and teachers could potentially be dealing with irritable, restless, and tired students! Click here to find a delicious, kid-friendly, protein-packed breakfast recipe so your kiddo wont get the “tummy grumbles” before lunch!

4) First day of school? Head out early!

Parents with young children who may be nervous about the first day of school and have a laundry list of forms to turn in should consider an early start. This way, a longer goodbye won’t affect your schedule and you will know before the bell rings if you are missing any integral things your child needs for their first day.

Mother Driving To School With Children

Credit: shesorganized.com

5) What About the Little Ones?

AmelieaFor parents with children who are new to preschool or kindergarten, there can be a ton of complicated emotions involved with the first day of school. Children may be excited, but trepidatious, just like their parents! When we asked Kimberly Clough, Administrator of the Preschool at the Museum’s Preschool, for her top tips when dealing with the first day of school drop off she made two great points.

First, don’t linger. You may want to give just one more hug and your child may be teary-eyed, but the longer you linger the stronger the impression you are giving your child that you are hesitant about the environment you are leaving them in. Children are incredibly intuitive when it comes to emotions; if your child senses you are nervous, that will make them nervous for you to leave.

Second, tell the truth. Giving your child the “who, what, when, where, and why” of their school day, from drop off to pick up, will put them at ease. Of course, your little one might not be able to read a clock, but if they know you are picking them up at the bus stop at 3:30 p.m. and you will have apple slices in-hand to munch on, they will be calmed by your confidence and certainty of how their day will play out.

6) Book Nooks and Homework Zones
readingnook

Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

Designating a quite area and time for homework will enable you to ensure that your child is studying in a learning-conducive environment where they can get the most out of their studying. Because reading is also important, you and your child can craft your way to creating a fun, comfy, and quiet reading area.

More and more classrooms are incorporating quiet, designated reading areas into their space that creates a calm environment that encourages reading. If you want to add a “Book Nook” to your child’s room or common area, you can DIY it by reading this article.

7) Establish a Routine

By adding your own personal parenting flair to the tips above, you are probably a pro at transitioning your child into their first semester of school, but it doesn’t stop there! All of these steps, from bed time and breakfast to homework will create a routine that will enable your child to flourish in school, in their extracurricular, and at home.

Establishing a routine creates a sense of security, especially for young children and keeps slightly older children on task.

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Credit: greatschools.org

Do you have any additional parenting tips? Share them in the comments below! From the Boonshoft Museum to all of you fantastic grown-ups and kiddos, have a great 2015-2016 school year!