Clay Center Science Outreach
|When invited and if available, the Clay Center will bring a traveling exhibit with hands-on activities to non-profit institutions such as school science fairs and star parties, astronomy and science clubs, and science conferences and conventions. Most local visits are usually at no charge, but some circumstances may require a small fee to cover staffing or travel. Groups interested in scheduling an outreach visit should fill in the form below first, then contact Clay Center Director Bob Phinney for details.|
Sample Outreach Visit Activities
|A typical outreach exhibit might include hands-on activities presented by astronomers and teachers from the Clay Center. These may include but are not limited to:|
* 3-D Space Photos - a poster board of current space research and planetary photos that are viewed with 3-D glasses. The photos have explanations that educate or pose questions to think about.
* Planetary Scales - a series of scales where students weigh themselves on different planets. Current scales include Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto. (Electrical power required.)
* Meteorite - Students can hold a "rock" from outer space, a nickle-iron meteorite that fell to earth in 1947 over eastern Siberia. It is surprisingly dense and heavy and clearly shows melting damage from its high temperature travel through the earth's atmosphere. By special request, we may be able to bring a 70-pound meteorite which is the size of a football.
* Space Shuttle Heat Tile - a good companion to the meteorite, as it is surprisingly light weight. This tile from the Russian shuttle Buran is the same type used on the US shuttles. Along with the shuttle model that accompanies it, the tile helps illustrate the thermal problems the shuttles have had to deal with.
* Space Shuttle Tire - a real tire from the nose wheel of STS-114 Space Shuttle Discovery which was the first "return to space" flight after the Columbia accident. STS-114 flew in July 2005 with Commander Eileen Collins and a crew of six other astronauts.
* Inside Telescope - An inside set-up of a computer controlled tracking scope to teach about the tools of the astronomer. Students can operate the scope and learn about star map software. (Electrical power required.)
* Outside Telescope - An outside set-up of a computer controlled tracking scope to teach about the tools of the astronomer (weather permitting). Students can safely observe the sun during the day with special filters. Evening observing is tailored to what's up at the time. (Electrical power required.)
* Theremin - an electronic musical instrument that can be played without touching it. It is an excellent demonstration of human electrical capacitance, and it makes eerie sounds. Often used for sound effects in science fiction movies. (Electrical power required.)
* Spectroscope - An instrument that breaks light into color bars that show chemical composition of the glowing object. Used with heium and neon bulbs, so best done in an area that can be somewhat darkened.
* Amateur Radio - (HAM Radio) Most of our astronomers are also licensed Amateur Radio Operators who can demonstrate the hobby and let students talk on the radio. Exhibit includes an oscilloscope and microphone to illustrate how sound can be changed to electrical signals.
* R2D2 Robot - Our mascot is a 16-inch high toy robot that beeps, squawks, dances, wanders around avoiding obstacles, and answers to commands. R2 is a favorite of young children.
* R2D2 Full Size Robot - By special request we can provide a life-size replica of everyone's favorite droid that beeps, squawks, dances, and roams around. This is not a toy and requires a smooth floor, at least 12x12 foot area, and show times of about 15 minutes with 10 minute break times for up to 5 shows in a two hour block. To cover our costs for special transportation and a live operator, there is a base fee of $200 for the first two hours and $100 per hour after that.
* Ride a Segway - Our Clay Center Segway is a two-wheel, self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device which can be ridden by ages 9 and up indoors or out. (We provide helmets.) It can be operated in an indoor area of about 12' x 15' and is an excellent activity for science fairs that have a physics or mechanics theme. By request we can also bring an open Segway base with the circuit boards and gyroscopes exposed. We provide an instructor who trains and supervisors riders. A second Segway can be provided at larger events for a small fee to cover transportation expenses.
Request a Clay Center Outreach Program