Museum of Science and Industry

Today I met an amazing group of scientists. Sure, their average height is 4-foot-something and they can't get a license for a few more years; but they are scientists nonetheless. The students I met show passion and intellect; they're curious and well-spoken. They have a real enthusiasm for learning. As middle schoolers, they may not fit your preconceived notion of a scientist but I argue they're scientists just the same.

One of the points I tried to make in my application video is that science is all around us. You don't need to go to a museum to see science in action; just open your eyes. And in that same way, scientists don't just exist at universities and laboratories, they're anyone who steps back, asks a question and then tries to figure out the answer. And based on the questions that these kids asked today, I can guarantee that these boys and girls are scientists.

Today I visited Woodlawn Community School and Erie Elementary Charter School and could not have been more impressed with the students and teachers. The students were excited to see me and had tons of questions; I was excited to find that their questions were much more than "what are going to do with the money" and "where do you eat?" The line of questions really showed an interest in science, not just a curiosity about some crazy guy they saw on the TV (aka: me). It made me really happy seeing kids who were sincerely excited about MSI and science and wanted to know more.

The schools were selected for me to visit since both had a connection to MSI. Two current Woodlawn teachers have attended MSI's teachers classes while Erie has an after-school science club that's part of MSI's network. And you may the remember the roller coaster challenge that I participated in earlier this month. Erie Elementary clearly has some talented engineers in their club as they built an amazing roller coaster with 16 loops, out-looping the competition (myself included).

Thanks to all of the teachers, administrators and students who made these visits so fun. Here are some more pictures from day:

 I visited with Ms. Stack and Ms. Williams classes and spoke to the entire school at the morning assembly. Thank you to everyone at Woodlawn, especially Principal Embil, for letting my stop by.

 The science club at Erie was a lot of fun. They were designing some coasters (like the ones from the challenge) when I arrived.

 After the pizza party (which they earned for winning the coaster competition), they were challenged with building a wind turbine that produced the most power.

At the end, they gave me a thank you card that they had made. Notice the looping coaster track design; I joked that they were just trying to rub it in that they had won. I now have it proudly displayed in my cube.

Science and jazz hands. Does it get any better than that?!?

  • Readers' Comments (2)
Ms. Stack"s Fifth Grade Class @Woodlawn Community School
November 17, 2011

Kevin it was a pleasure to have you visit our school and classroom. We are looking forward to visiting the museum and studying more science. We loved speaking and listening to you and hope you will come back to visit again.

Erie Elementary Charter School Administration!
November 19, 2011

Kevin, thank you so much for coming to Erie Elementary Charter School and answering our students many questions! We are so proud of them and certainly happy to be part of MSI.

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kevin byrne

A digital marketing analyst from Chicago, Kevin is living inside the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere for 30 days.

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