Es­plora launches 2017-2018 Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Es­plora has launched the sec­ond edi­tion of its Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme for 20172018, with the sci­ence centre now close to cel­e­brat­ing its first an­niver­sary.

The pro­gramme is a handbook that is to be used as a guide for the care­fully designed ac­tiv­i­ties in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, arts and math­e­mat­ics be­ing of­fered at Es­plora. Build­ing on the past year’s ex­pe­ri­ence, the Es­plora team, led by the Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man of the Malta Coun­cil for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Jef­frey Pul­li­cino Or­lando, aims to de­liver mem­o­rable learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for all its vis­i­tors.

They be­gan in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion with Es­plora pre­sen­ters demon­strat­ing flames, bub­bles, fire tor­na­dos, and the fa­mous Van der Graaf gen­er­a­tor mak­ing par­tic­i­pants’ hair stand on end.

These are ex­am­ples of how vis­i­tors are en­thused, made to be cu­ri­ous and en­cour­aged to ask ques­tions.

Es­plora’s mis­sion and vision, through its ex­hibits, work­shops, demos and shows, as­pires to cul­ti­vate a cul­ture of sci­en­tific cu­rios­ity and cre­ativ­ity by ig­nit­ing a pas­sion for ques­tion­ing, in­ves­ti­ga­tion and dis­cov­ery by en­cour­ag­ing vis­i­tors to ex­plore, think, imag­ine, ap­pre­ci­ate and cre­ate.

Es­plora uses such demon­stra­tions in the form of hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties to make vis­i­tors aware that sci­ence is all around them and that they al­ready use sci­en­tific rea­son­ing and skills in their daily ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing mak­ing sci­ence-based choices all the time.

Es­plora Di­rec­tor Rachael Black­burn went through the high­lights of the pro­gramme for the year. She said that Es­plora of­fers 200 in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibits, 23 hands-on work­shops, six live sci­ence shows, six artis­tic per­for­mances and work­shops, and seven plan­e­tar­ium films. “Vis­i­tors will def­i­nitely be spoilt for choice when or­gan­is­ing their vis­its.” She also ex­plained that new to this year’s pro­gramme is the in­clu­sion of pre-set com­bos, where vis­i­tors can choose to do mul­ti­ple ac­tiv­i­ties in one visit.

Dr Pul­li­cino Or­lando said that fur­ther to the suc­cess of the in­clu­sion of the STEAM ap­proach in last year’s pro­gramme, it was only nat­u­ral for this year to present a rich pro­gramme bring- ing STEAM, a 21st cen­tury ap­proach to learn­ing, to the core of Es­plora’s offer. He said that “this ap­proach to learn­ing is un­doubt­edly not easy, but the ben­e­fits to peo­ple and the whole of so­ci­ety are in­cred­i­ble. Vis­i­tors who en­gage in STEAM ac­tiv­i­ties make more real-life con­nec­tions so that Es­plora is not a place where you visit to learn but becomes the whole ex­pe­ri­ence of learn­ing it­self.”

The col­lab­o­ra­tions with ex­perts in var­i­ous fields have al­lowed Es­plora to present such a rich pro­gramme. Events in­clude the­matic events, some of which ex­tend over the week­end; ex­clu­sive Toi Toi pack­ages on Sun­days; seasonal ac­tiv­i­ties, and evening events re­served for adults only.

Es­plora’s sig­na­ture team build­ing event Sci­ence Quest and eight Con­tinu- ing Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment pro­grammes are now avail­able for stu­dents, ed­u­ca­tors, sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tors and cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions who wish to fur­ther their knowl­edge in the field of sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion or take up a team build­ing with a sci­ence twist.

This year’s pro­gramme will start with a bang with ‘World Space Week’. This will be the first the­matic event in the com­ing week be­tween 3 and 8 Oc­to­ber. The event is be­ing held in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for World Space Week, The As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety of Malta and The In­sti­tute of Space Sci­ences and As­tron­omy. There will be ac­tiv­i­ties for all age groups in­clud­ing ‘meet the as­tronomer’, so­lar ob­ser­va­tion ses­sions, in­ter­ac­tive talks on ‘Earth & the Uni­verse’, and space-themed hands-on work­shops.

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