The CT Science Center (CSC), hit hard in 2020 when the pandemic forced them to close their doors to the public for three months, had an amazing pivot by finding creative new ways to reach science-lovers of all ages. As a 2020-2021 NASA CT Space Grant Award recipient, CSC was able to use their award to create meaningful virtual content – including blog posts, videos, live virtual events, school programs, and at-home experiments – on the topic of space, always a favorite topic! Viewed by thousands of individuals, families, teachers, after school educators, homeschooling groups and more, these virtual programs have been so popular they have become integrated into the regular roster of options going forward.
Some of these virtual programs can be seen below.
- Lunch Bunch is offered on social media for families with kids primarily in the K-5 range. These posts were originally created as an offering for kids who were homebound during the pandemic, but were so popular they have continued as things have opened up. View this Lunch Bunch with Ms. Kaila clip about a journey to the moon, where younger students have some fun as they explore space.
- Dear Science is a YouTube series which answers student questions about science topics. CSC has tackled many questions over the past year, but a couple of space-specific questions from students have been address in Meteors and Mars’ Moons. Though the questions are coming from CT students, this series has been a great way to address the questions of inquisitive science enthusiasts of all ages!
- Science at Play is a series that offers engaging activities for student and families to try at home to learn about various science topics. Have you ever wondered how daylight savings works? You can learn all about it when you track and analyze data as described in their Day Length Detectives
Even though they were able to reopen in June 2020 with limited capacity and other safety precautions in place, and now with many COVID-19 restrictions lifted entirely, visitors to CSC have still not returned to normal levels. Virtual programs created with assistance of NASA CT Space Grant Consortium and other community partners have allowed CSC to continue to engage with science-lovers of all ages around the state regardless of their ability to be on-site or not. As a result of the popularity of these new virtual programs, CSC will continue to focus on the wider reach that these programs can offer, which also allows CSC staff to address topics of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access to their programs.