Saturday, December 7, 2002

ZOOM Into SciTrek with PeachStar

Since 1988, over two and a half million visitors have had the opportunity to experience some of Atlanta's most engaging and innovative hands-on science exhibits at SciTrek. Located in downtown Atlanta and open seven days a week, SciTrek allows visitors to learn by engaging in experiential exhibits, as well as through workshops and programs hosted by professional educators. There are over 120 hands-on exhibits in the museum's Permanent Exhibits section, and these are supplemented by frequently changing Special Exhibits. Students can explore the principles of magnetic attraction and electrical currents in the Electric-Magnetic Junction; learn how to make work into child's play at Simple Machines: How Things Work; explore the properties of light and the science of optics at Light Reflections, Perceptions, and Illusions; and "explore" Mars using a custom-built robot at RoboMars. The staff also conducts hourly science demonstrations, and school groups can register to participate in special workshops when they visit SciTrek. Throughout the school year, SciTrek also hosts events for special occasions such as National Chemistry Week and National Engineering Week.

One of the many permanent exhibits at SciTrek is ZOOMzone, sponsored by Georgia Public Broadcasting and PeachStar. ZOOMzone recreates the look and feel of the PBS series ZOOM, which airs on GPTV (PeachStar Channel 400) weekdays at 3:30 PM. The idea behind ZOOM, which is a recreation of the popular 1970's children's show by the same name, is that students are inventive and creative enough to create their own daily television show. Students from five to eleven send in games, puzzles, activities, and experiments, and those submissions are included in upcoming programs. In the ZOOMzone, students and adults can try the interactive and educational activities seen on ZOOM, share their ideas, and even send their ideas to the producers of the show. Both the show and the exhibit are based on activities and ideas created by students across the country to challenge and entertain other students.

At SciTrek, students can see some of their favorite episodes of ZOOM playing at the first kiosk when they enter the exhibit. Additionally, they can learn about fractions using Burger Math, take the Cup Tower Challenge to build a stable structure using just cups, try solving the centuries-old puzzles of Tangrams, and even send in their own suggestions for activities to ZOOM producers via the Internet Kiosk. PeachStar and SciTrek are currently discussing the creation of several new and exciting ZOOMzone activities.

Visit the SciTrek website for more information about SciTrek exhibits, workshops, school group visits, summer camps, and classroom resources. You can also find out more about ZOOM by visiting the ZOOM website.