The Man Behind the Coil

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Earlier this month, NYSCI, in collaboration with the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia, opened a new exhibition focusing on the life and work of the man who brought us bladeless turbines, remote controls and the Maker Faire-favorite, the Tesla coil. Nikola Tesla’s most significant invention was the alternating current induction motor, still used today in home appliances, as well as in machines in many industrial plants and factories.

Tesla’s Wonderful World of Electricity, on view at NYSCI through October 20, includes working replicas of Nikola Tesla’s inventions, models of his scientific laboratories, photographic reproductions, and a narrative about his life and work.

Full STEAM Ahead

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STEM – the acronym popular with educators and policymakers – shortens the decidedly clunky phrase: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But something seemed to be missing. So leaders from science, engineering, mathematics, education and design have been advocating incorporating art and design into STEM education. In other words, STEM should now be referred to as STEAM.

A writer from The Atlantic, who applauded the new STEAM acronym, quoted NYSCI’s President and CEO Margaret Honey as saying “It’s not about adding on arts education. It’s about fundamentally changing education to incorporate the experimentation and exploration that is at the heart of effective education.” 

Happiness is a Butterfly

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There are some things in life we’d be glad to see less of: bills, litter, standardized tests. Monarch butterflies are not one of them. The striking orange and black wings of the monarch make it one of the most favorite butterfly species in North America. Unfortunately, this year’s numbers of monarchs are the lowest ever on record. At their peak in 1996, monarchs covered nearly 45 acres of forest in their overwintering grounds in Mexico. This year, they covered only 1.65 acres.

So spare some space in your garden this year for milkweed. If you’ve seen our current 3D film Flight of the Butterflies, you know how important milkweed is to monarchs. Milkweed is where monarchs lay their eggs and is the only food source for monarch caterpillars.

Click here to learn how to plant milkweed and nectar-producing flowers to create your own butterfly garden. Then sit down quietly and wait for the butterflies to alight upon you.

Leap Back in Time

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Move over iPhone, the Motorola Dyna TAC brick cellular phone is back in town. At least for the weekend, anyway. The Motorola, along with the Pong video game, the IBM Selectric typewriter, and other devices from bygone days will be available for hands-on exploration on Saturday and Sunday at NYSCI as part of the ChronoLeap: Technolution event.

The event complements ChronoLeap: The Great World’s Fair Adventure project that partnered the University of Central Florida with NYSCI and the Queens Museum of Art. The project created a free, downloadable game that transports users to a virtual version of the 1964/65 World’s Fair, along with educational programs and activities that accompany the game.

So put down that smartphone, rev up your time machine, and get to NYSCI this weekend!

Making Mentors

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This summer, five college students will interact with NYSCI visitors as part of the Maker Education Initiative’s Maker Corps program. The students will collaborate in NYSCI’s Maker Space, assisting visitors with new activities that will be prototyped and refined for use in this year’s summer camps. They will also work on their own individual maker projects. By providing maker-oriented jobs, the Maker Corps program aims to expand the network of maker mentors, expose more people to making, and provide career skills to college students interested in making.

NYSCI is one of only 34 organizations throughout the country participating in the program, which was highlighted by the White House as a program that increases opportunities for STEM participation. To date, NYSCI’s Maker Corps members have prototyped mold making activities and worked on sonic mosquito repellent kits.

Stop by NYSCI’s Maker Space to see what they’ll be working on next!

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