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Young Life: Science After Dark Returns to Earth at the Science Museum of Virginia | Entertainment

By COLLETTE CAPRARA FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

The folks at the Science Museum of Virginia are excited to invite everyone back to Science After Dark — a special evening of exploration, engaging demonstrations, and hands-on take-home activities — on Friday.

Science After Dark was conceived as a way to ensure that the museum would be accessible beyond the usual hours of 9:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., giving working parents the opportunity to explore its fascinating activities with their children after the working day. Programs are designed with a theme in mind, and April’s theme will be “Down to Earth” – a perfect fit for Earth Month – and will feature topics celebrating the world around us, ranging from ground space, including ways we can help preserve and protect our precious planet.

“The goal of the museum is to arouse curiosity and advance science. Our activities are designed to inspire guests so that when they return home they can pursue their discoveries and delve deeper into science and make their own contribution to our ecosystem,” said Timshel Purdum, Director of Education by Virginia C. Ellett.

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With April’s Science After Dark, activities designed to achieve this goal include an opportunity for guests to create their own planters from recycled materials in the Forge – the museum’s engaging creative space that celebrates innovation, design and manufacture – plus a special project for younger visitors in which they will create take-out feeders. Children will come away with a heightened sense of agency and connectedness and may want to keep a journal of feathered visitors who appreciate the offerings from their bird feeders.

Throughout the evening, guests can create seed spheres, hand-cast from natural clay, potting soil and seeds, which they can plant in their garden. Visitors will also come away with a greater appreciation for the valuable role wave worms play in our environment after exploring the museum’s decomposition station and learning how discarded trash can turn into soil-enriching compost. Step-by-step STEM instructions can guide families to create a compost bin at home.

Families will also learn about RVAir, an ongoing community initiative in which hundreds of people have recorded the air quality in different parts of the city or at a given site over time, using special sensors to measure levels. of air pollution known as particulate matter. In the process, visitors will learn about factors that can influence air pollution levels, such as car exhaust, and gain a new appreciation for the ways in which walking, cycling or public transport common can benefit our environment.

Museum educators will talk about phenomena happening on our planet and beyond during Science on a Sphere presentations. Guests will watch activity on a huge scrolling globe, with projections illustrating events such as hurricanes, ocean water temperatures, earthquakes and plate tectonics, all based on scientific findings most recent, using data from NASA and NOAA.

In The Dome theater planetarium, astronomers will discuss celestial bodies in our galaxy and beyond at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Presentations will explore topics such as exoplanets that orbit other solar systems and may have vital environments.

“There are only a few planetarium-style theaters in the Commonwealth, and we’re very lucky to have an astronomer on staff who can create original content that you won’t see anywhere else. I continually hear from adults who attend planetarium shows say they learned something new through presentations based on new discoveries and ongoing research,” said Jennifer Guild, Communications and Curiosity Manager.

The museum’s valued partners in the community will also add to the excitement and enrichment of the Science After Dark experience. STEM professionals from the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society will present more than a dozen ongoing interactive activities celebrating insects, including an exploration of a butterfly’s life cycle and insect eaters, and will guide guests in the creation of kaleidoscopes, explaining how some insect eyes are multi-faceted.

“This down-to-earth depiction of insects will expand guests’ perspective and appreciation for the chemistry that surrounds us and its role in our lives,” Purdum said. “All things are made of chemicals, including our blood and our food.”

In addition, weather permitting, members of the Richmond Astronomical Society will set up telescopes on the lawn and invite everyone to join them in observing the night sky, after experiencing the activities inside the museum.

“The Science Museum of Virginia plays a unique role in broadening our perspective of the world we thought we knew, through its engaging, fun, and challenging offerings,” Purdum said. “The fun never stops at the science museum, and our programs are designed to promote intergenerational learning. People of all ages can find a connection that is relevant in their lives. »