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Aim, build, spin and experience Newton’s Laws of Motion in an exciting new exhibit debuting at the Children’s Museum of Houston
January 19 – October 6, 2013
Sponsored by The William Stamps Farish Fund and Reliant an NRG Company
Whether a rocket scientist or a dancer, we are all governed by the laws of motion. But, how well do you really understand these laws that cannot be broken? Thanks to the Children’s Museum of Houston, you can now engage in fun, educational activities that will help you understand the physics associated with the laws of motion! So come step into a world alive with action as you delve into force, friction, momentum, gravity and speed in the all-new Newton Know-How exhibit debuting Jan. 19 through Oct. 6, 2013 at the Children’s Museum of Houston.
“Whether engineering new safety harnesses or designing video games, the physics surrounding Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion are essential knowledge,” says Keith Ostfeld, Director of Educational Technology and Exhibit Development for the Children’s Museum of Houston. “Everything that moves has to follow these laws. However, many people often have an incorrect understanding of them. Newton Know-How gives them the opportunity to correct misconceptions and put ideas to the test.”
All components in Newton Know-How are hands-on and built for open-ended explorations of physics. Some of the exhibit experiences include:
- Testing methods to get golf ball trains through the Golf Ball Roller Coaster.
- Accelerating balls using gravity on the Spiral.
- Building a domino pattern and watching them fall in a chain reaction on a Domino Table.
- Generating kinetic energy as you launch balls into cups at the Cups and Balls.
- Using angular momentum to defy gravity at Top Spinning.
“Newton Know-How is about encouraging visitors to ask their own questions,” says Ostfeld. “Each of the exhibit components is like a physics problem come to life, except that YOU create the question to answer. And, for every answer, you may end up creating a new question. It is the perfect way to really investigate physics; not through word problems, but through thought explorations.”
To help Museum visitors understand the physics behind what they are doing at exhibits like Speedy Discs, where they try to keep three giant flywheels in motion, or Ricochet, a table-mounted putt-putt golf course where you have to bounce balls to get them into holes, the Museum has installed “Know-How” signs around the room. Each sign is actually a large TV screen with short animations that explain fundamental physics concepts like velocity, potential energy, and friction. The Museum has also integrated QR codes into the exhibit so that the animations may be viewed on smartphones and tablets directly at the exhibit components.
In addition to the great hands-on exhibit experiences, visitors can also build and take home their own physics project. Based on the very popular Instructables: Made In Your Mind exhibit (also from the Children’s Museum of Houston), Newton Know-How will feature a project table where you use everyday materials to build fantastic physics-based toys such as a Slingshot Rocket, an Impossible Balancer, and a Pop and Catch game, among others. The activities will change out every two weeks and the exhibit will have links to instructions for all the projects.
“Everyone needs to experience this exhibit,” concludes Ostfeld. “Instead of being ‘hard,’ it proves that physics is fun!”
***Activities, events and times subject to change.
MUSEUM HOURS: Tue. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun: Noon – 6 p.m.
Second Saturday of every month opens at 9 a.m. for members.
General Museum admission: $9 per person and $8 for seniors 65+ and for military personnel. Children under one and Museum Members receive free admission.
Free Family Night every Thursday 5 – 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.cmhouston.org or call (713) 522-1138.