Thursday, April 3, 2014

Holograms and Lasers at ETHOS Science Center

We love going to the Sneak Peek Science nights at ETHOS Science Center in Elkhart! It is usually the third Thursday of the month in the evening. We arrived right after a bus pulled up and they shared a couple of the passes with us. The cost is a dollar per person. In March the theme was holograms and lasers. Many of the rooms had extra special activities to explore the theme. In addition, all the regular displays are up. While we have been there many times, we still like going back and interacting with the displays. The first room we visited had holograms that we needed to use flashlights to see. Others were displayed on the wall and around the room to see floating images and special tricks.

This light and optics table with the various prisms and such was perfect for the theme! 

The computer lab was open with special programs about lasers. Technology? My kids were there!

I took our toddler into the new exploration room while the other boys were on the computer. He loved the marble run! The area has several activities perfect for young children. The activities on the wall were hung at just the right height. 

Puzzles, blocks, and books were accessible, as well as a large selection of stuffed animals. 

The music table was by far my son's favorite spot in the exploration room. He likes to make music. This table is unique as it could be spread apart into several different stations. He loved the mallets! He also like knocking down the Keva tower his older brother made. Thankfully, the older brother built it just for that purpose as he knows what a 19 month old does with towers! We have similar blocks. I've had them for years since I taught elementary school. They really work with a large age range. My toddler likes them, as well as my first graders and fourth graders when I was in the classroom on a regular basis. 

These were the favorite activities of the night! After watching a clip from Ocean's Eleven where they climbed through the a glow-in-the-dark string maze! They had to bend, stretch, and reach to get through the string maze. We've had MANY requests to recreate this in the basement, though I think it might do better outside between some trees. Our youngest just loves the ball illustrating Bernoulli's principle! He could stay there all night!

Another room had various laser activities with volunteers from a local high school class manning the exhibits. We could stop music by interrupting the laser beam! The ball machine is always a hit! 

The giant kaleidoscope is also really neat! Who could resist hundreds of sweet toddler faces? Many of the animals were also out--my son got up close and personal with a snake!


The turtles were mesmerzing! 

I loved seeing this on the wall! Hands-on science exploration is so essential! That's one reason we love these nights!

Another room had large holograms. Pretty interesting to see these tricks to our eyes!

Susan, who works at ETHOS, spent some time teaching our kids how to play a game that is a cross of chess and lasers. The pieces had mirrors and you used to laser to knock out the opponent. The boys really like chess, math pentathlon, Lego robotics, etc. so I figured this would be right up their alley! When I just mentioned it, the second grader said, "Oh, I LOVE that game!"

My preschooler made a special craft with a toilet paper tube as well. It had a refracted lens on it so made an interesting scope. They liked exploring the "normal" exhibits, too. 

They use this question and answer board, changing out the topics, for various nights. It's fun to see if we get the answers right!

What another fun night! If you haven't gone, we suggest you try it out or even try some of the activities at home. For $5 for my whole family, I can't recreate this at home, so I appreciate the professionals and volunteers who contribute to make these nights special!

Other activities we enjoyed at ETHOS!

The Senses

Optical Illusions



Astronomy on the Science2Go Bus

Summer Camps