Science It's Spreading

Find out what the Kentucky Science Center is doing to blow the minds of Kentuckians from Paducah to Pikeville and everywhere in between!

Who isn’t amazed by science? We can’t think of a soul. That’s why we’re proud to be bringing the wonders of science to every corner of the Commonwealth!

What is the Kentucky Science Center up to at home and around our state? Have a look below – and keep checking back for regular updates!

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In 2012, We Became Kentucky Science Center

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And it’s more than just a name change! The Kentucky State Legislature designated us as the State Science Center of Kentucky in 2002—and in 2012 we fully embraced our role as standard bearer for science literacy in our city, state and region.

Not content to let Kentucky come to us, we’re getting more and more assertive about taking science to Kentucky. It’s been working. Last year roughly 40% of the visitors to our center were from outside the immediate 5-county metro area, as well as 1,400 of our roughly 7,000 member households.

Each day Kentucky Science Center is increasingly seen as the partner of choice in the region for informal science, technology, engineering and math education. Not just because we’re good at it, but because we make it fun and accessible for people of all ages.

In 2012, We Took Our Science Literacy Programs Statewide

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With every passing month we’re getting closer to fulfilling our ambition to bring science literacy to every corner of Kentucky.

In 2012 we engaged three regional partners to join our PNC-funded Grow Up Great with Science preschool program. We got involved with the State Department of Education to help review new Next Generation Science Standards that will inform new state standards soon. We partnered with LG&E/KU to launch a new traveling science program, Captain Current vs. the Energy Vampires.

If that weren’t enough, we are the regional standard-bearer for the National Science Foundation-funded GIRLS RISEnet, which encourages girls’ science literacy. We also expanded our Pulse of Surgery program, allowing middle and high school students to “plug in” at locations around the Commonwealth.

And it’s going to be an exciting summer and fall as our Youth Science Summit movement grows. In June we will host Youth Science Summit events in both Louisville and Lexington, bringing together teens ages 11-18 for a single day of STEM speed mentoring, hands-on lab experiences, science conversations and a “reverse science fair” where STEM practitioners showcase recent innovations.

Louisville’s Summit, June 15, will feature a special girls-only track to help advance the agenda of gender equity for STEM in Kentucky. Retired President of University of Kentucky, Dr.Lee Todd, has just been confirmed as a keynote for the June 29 Lexington Summit.

But you haven’t seen anything yet! We’ve only begun to make the most of our statewide mission.

In 2012, Captain Current Took on the Electricity Vampires!

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No...it’s Captain Current vs. the Electricity Vampires!

This brand new traveling show was launched last October in cooperation with LG&E/KU and today it travels statewide, serving schools far and near and teaching students all about energy sources, energy transmission, energy circuits and especially energy conservation and efficiency!

Captain Current vs. The Electricity Vampires has now served over 6,000 students during its inaugural year and has served schools in Louisville as well as traveled to Harlan County, Northern Kentucky, Lexington, Paducah, and Bowling Green. Check out this video of teachers and students from Wellington Elementary in Lexington providing testimony of the program’s energy and educational power!

The mobile program includes a 40-minute science show, hands-on activity stations and materials like energy conservation pledge cards. So keep watching the roads! Captain Current may be coming your way soon!

In 2012, 2,081 Teenagers Participated in Surgery

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It’s one thing for a student to watch open-heart surgery, it’s quite another to take part in it. But that’s exactly what middle and high school students are doing live via teleconference.

Through Pulse of Surgery, students get to interact via real-time video and voice with Jewish Hospital staff, asking direct questions to surgeons, nurses, perfusionists and others—all while an open-heart surgery procedure is in progress.

This year students across the state have been able to participate in Pulse of Surgery whatever their school’s location, just by accessing a local facility with the right technology.

Recently, Kentucky Science Center entered an agreement with the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) to reach students in grades 7-12, from off-site locations throughout the Commonwealth with the Center’s Pulse of Surgery program.

KMA funds will underwrite the participation of 500 students over the next two school years and underscores the importance of programming that emphasizes mechanisms for living a healthy life, role models for pursuing an array of medical careers and of course, basic anatomy and physiology.

Who knows which Kentucky county will produce the next star surgeon?

Kids Celebrated Their Birthdays with Science!

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In all our great state, is there a cooler place to celebrate a birthday than the Kentucky Science Center? We sure don’t think so, and we’re not alone.

Scores of young scientists spent their birthdays examining mummies, building architectural marvels and getting elbow deep at our Splash! table. And then there’s the liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Super Genius Birthday packages include all-day admission to the Kentucky Science Center for up to 20 kids and 20 adults, themed science activities, cake, juice, party gear and use of the party room. But you’d better book in advance if you’d like a Super Genius Birthday party of your own—rooms are filling three months in advance!

It’s amazing to think that not long ago there was no infrastructure behind birthday parties at the Science Center. Now the program consistently serves more than ten families a month—with 22 parties in the month of March alone! One parent recently commented that a Science Center party is the “best experience and package in town”.

Recently a party was double-booked in order to accommodate a parent who said “we came to another child’s birthday party and my child said he wouldn’t have his party anywhere else.”

A custom pirate-themed party was also held not long ago, and the birthday mom told us it was so good she expected to return next year. New topics include rockets and big blue blocks!

School’s Out Science Camps Doubled Their Attendance... AGAIN!

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It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we offered our first round of School’s Out Science Camps. That first summer we offered camps just four weeks a year, on a handful of subjects.

Flash forward to 2012 and our camps were the centerpiece of summer! Over eleven weeks we served 1,106 young scientists with camps devoted to everything from space to engineering, oceans to dinosaurs, medieval history to biology and more!

And it didn’t stop there! Today the Kentucky Science Center is the place to be for out-of-school kids and families on any day area schools are out—regardless of the time of year. This year we hope to serve more than 2,000 kids, pre-K to 8th grade, over the full year of School’s Out camps—and we’ll even run a week of off-site robotics camp in Scott County!

Who wants to stay home and play video games when science is in the offing?

Preschoolers are Growing Up Great with Science

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We ourselves can’t help but be stunned by the impact of the Grow Up Great with Science program. Since PNC Bank first invested in the initiative in 2009, Grow Up Great With Science has helped the Science Center bring science to over 530 classrooms at 121 early childhood sites.

In total we’ve reached 5,967 families—and counting—in Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington and Owensboro, exposing thousands of preschoolers age 5 and under to the basic science and math skills they need to succeed in school. We’re beginning to see the culture change in the communities where we have been hard at work, with adults and caregivers more willing and interested in DOING SCIENCE EVERYWHERE with their young children.

The future looks ever-brighter for the program thanks to PNC’s continuing support and a slew of new partnerships, including one with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, all of which are helping us reach out to even more childcare centers, teachers and families across the state.

Recently, Kentucky Science Center assembled and chartered a new Early Childhood Advisory Council, with representation from some of the State’s most active and engaged organizations and individuals—champions of progressive strategies to ensure that Kentucky children thrive in their homes and communities and enter Kindergarten ready to succeed.

Representatives include the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education, KET—Kentucky Educational Television, Community Coordinated Child Care, Jefferson County Public Schools, Metro United Way, Jefferson County Technical College, University of Louisville plus practitioners from Fayette County, Scott County, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Prospect and Louisville.

Memberships Help Families Live and Breathe Science!

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Kentucky Science Center memberships remain a value to families in our region and our state, providing for repeat visits, special events and previews, IMAX film screenings and all-around deeper connections to our center, to our staff and to science in general.

One member parent recently told us she continues to be amazed at how Center engages her children, right down to her youngest—a 3-year-old.

As of this year the Kentucky Science Center has over 7,000 member households, in 35 states. Approximately 40% of our members have children under 5, which is why we’re explicitly focusing on increasing our offerings for young children this year—from camps to playdates and the newly energized Science in Play which will open again in July.

Mark your calendars for an exclusive, members-only opening weekend for Science in Play: Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 (regular operating hours). If you are not a member...join today!

And while we’re talking member events, the 2013 ThunderBlast event—which coincides with the city’s annual pre-Derby Thunder Over Lousville celebration—attracted 1,770 people. This was a 25% increase over the previous year.

Just over 44% of ThunderBlast attendees were Science Center Members, and the event was a great platform for wooing the remaining 56% with the benefits and value of a Science Center annual membership.

A full 93% of event attendees rated their experience as either a 4 or 5, the highest rankings on the satisfaction scale. 67% said they would absolutely plan to attend a future ThunderBlast event! Check out this video!