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New space and high-tech equipment brings focus to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics

Dover, NH – (March 16, 2016) For the last few years, science, technology, engineering, art and math or STEAM, has been a hot topic when discussing early childhood education. However, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has been focused on all five areas since their inception 33 years ago. Now, with the opening of their STEAM Innovation Lab, through the generous sponsorship of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the Museum will have a dedicated space and high-tech equipment capable of supporting and engaging New Hampshire’s future innovators.

What is it?

When the STEAM Innovation Lab opens in mid-March, educators as well as children and families will be invited to use the lab to explore topics that focus on collaboration, critical thinking and making connections with the world outside the classroom. The space is designed as a prototype classroom of the future, with flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for a variety of tasks.

The room is equipped with a projector, iPads, materials for prototyping and designing as well as real tools and scientific equipment, including a 3-D printer and high-powered FLoid® Cell Imaging System provided by partner Thermo Fisher Scientific. Children can even learn how to code their own games on a “CMNH Game Maker” app designed specially for the Children’s Museum by local software developer James Terry. “We’ve already had kids ages 9 – 12 Beta test this Game Maker app in one of our camps and it was a huge success and resulted in some really fun and innovative games,” shared Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of NH.

Expanding on a Well-Established Educator Resource

The Museum has a long history of engaging children in STEAM concepts: science through daily experiments; technology and engineering through Maker Clubs and the Dover Mini Maker Faire; math through their classes and camps; and art in practically everything. “The idea that STEAM concepts are out of reach for young children is false,” shared Jane Bard. “Here at CMNH we’ve been immersed in teaching these topics for many years and with the new STEAM Innovation Lab we are thrilled that we can grow as a resource to children, families and educators as we move into a more high-tech world.”

The STEAM Lab will certainly provide much needed support to NH educators. “We’ve consistently heard from teachers that they need support and training to assist them in teaching STEAM concepts” said Jane.

Fran Meffen, STEAM Academy Director at Dover Middle School, agrees. “The STEAM Innovation Lab (SIL) at the Children’s Museum of NH is a critical resource in providing immersion for children, teachers and community members into all things STEAM. STEAM project-based learning is central to the shift in education that is needed in schools to best meet the goal of having students college and career ready. The STEAM Innovation Lab will serve as an incubator for teachers, allowing them to bring their students on field trips where students will be active learners and the teachers can learn how to bring this experience back to their classrooms.”

Beyond the Classroom

While the STEAM Innovation Lab was created with an eye toward assisting NH’s educators, it is much more than that. The Museum will open the Lab to all museum guests weekly at scheduled times. “We’re planning a whole range of programs and activities that will utilize the space and equipment,” says Meredith Lamothe, Children’s Museum of NH Lead Educator. Storybook STEAM will focus on children as young as 3 years old, while STEAM Lab design challenges will be perfect for the entire family. The STEAM Saturday series will allow parents and children to collaboratively create things like ArtBots or Shrinky Dinks™ Sculptures. “It’s important to us that we continue to incorporate STEAM learning into our already fun and engaging museum environment,” says Lamothe “so that our visitors and members can see how this kind of learning is not just for a classroom setting!”

The Children’s Museum has a variety of programs in place to ensure that everyone who wants to visit the Museum, can, regardless of their economic situation. For example, families who present an EBT card at the door, can pay only $1 admission per person. This kind of all-inclusive access is crucial to leveling the playing field of educational privilege. “It is critical that we engage all children early in meaningful, participatory discovery in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts and create pathways for that learning to continue throughout their education,” said Lauren Provost, Director of Science & Technology Outreach at Dartmouth College. “The Dartmouth Office of Science & Technology Outreach is excited to support these efforts.”

An Eye on the Future

With professional development and teacher training programs with titles like “Next Generation CrossCutting Concepts: What Are They and How Do I Incorporate Them?,” free individual admission for teachers who present a teacher ID, and the free STEM video series created by the Museum and available online, there are many ways that educators can utilize the Children’s Museum as a resource. “The STEAM Innovation Lab represents our commitment to the students, teachers and families of New Hampshire in inspiring all children to become the next generation of innovators and problem solvers,” says Jane Bard.

With the opening of the STEAM Lab, the Museum has an eye on the future, and that is something that has made business as well as education leaders sit up and take notice. “This will help spark our youth’s interest in STEAM while offering educators opportunities to hone their teaching skills and enhance self-directed and engaged STEAM learning in the classroom,” shared Tom Raffio, Chair of the NH State Board of Education and Chair of the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education. “If children are consistently exposed to active STEAM teachings early in life and they enjoy participating in these classroom lessons, it will improve their capacity and hunger for learning. If children are enthusiastic about the STEAM disciplines, it will help to develop a pipeline of inspired and engaged innovators, and benefit the next generation of New Hampshire’s workforce.”

Fran Meffen agrees. “While this is just one classroom in the Museum its impact will spread organically across NH.”

STEAM Innovation Lab founding sponsors are Thermo Fisher Scientific, The Roger R. and Theresa A. Thompson Endowment Fund, Granite State Development Corporation and the Horne Family Foundation. To learn more about the STEAM Innovation Lab click here.

A Grand Opening

The Museum has planned 3 days of programs and activities to highlight all the new STEAM Lab has to offer:

Thursday, March 17, 3-5pm: Preschool through grade 6 educators and their families are invited to a special free Educator Open House where they’ll get a chance to learn about the resources available in the STEAM Innovation Lab. An educator from Thermo Fisher Scientific will be sharing materials and Museum educators will be hosting a sample of STEAM Lab activities. Educators will leave with curriculum handouts, online resources and inspiring ideas to bring back into their classrooms. One lucky teacher will win a free class trip to the new STEAM Innovation Lab. Click here to RSVP.

Friday, March 18, 9-11am: Press are welcome. Business leaders and elected officials are welcome to this FREE networking event where we'll celebrate the opening of the new STEAM Innovation Lab. There will be short remarks, light refreshments, time for networking, a free giveaway and demonstrations of the high-tech equipment and engaging programs available now in the STEAM Lab, sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Click here to RSVP.

Friday, March 18, 11am-2pm: The public is welcome to enjoy free-with-museum-admission drop-in activities in the STEAM Innovation lab throughout the day. Educators will lead a STEAM Storytime and corresponding engineering challenge from 11am-11:45am. From 1-2pm guests can take part in an elephant toothpaste experiment and then create their own circuits. All STEAM activities are free with museum admission.

Friday, March 18, 3-7pm: Children’s Museum of NH Members of all levels are invited to the museum for a free evening of exploration and invention in the STEAM Lab. The whole museum will be open until 7pm and educators will be offering a sampling of programs and activities. Learn how to extract DNA from a strawberry, use the high-tech FLoid® Cell Imaging System to view cells, try a K’Nex engineering challenge, create an invention or prototype in the Creation Station, watch a demonstration of the 3D printer or the new CMNH Game Maker app. Click here to RSVP.

Saturday, March 19, 10am-5pm: The public is welcome to enjoy free-with-museum-admission drop-in activities in the newly opened STEAM Innovation Lab. Join a Prototype It! Workshop and test innovative ideas from 1-3pm by creating a simple prototype or model using everyday and recycled materials. Learn all about the hidden world around us by watching a demonstration with the FLoid® Cell Imaging System high-tech microscope from 3:30-4:30pm. Or sign up for our first STEAM Saturday child and adult ArtBots Workshop. In this workshop, which costs $15 per adult/child pair for Members and $20 for Non-members, participants will create and take home their own art-making robot, capable of creating all kinds of beautiful, spiraling illustrations. Call 603-742-2002 to register for the ArtBot workshop. All other programs are free with museum admission.

About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit www.childrens-museum.org

IMAGES

Just click the links to access high resolution images of the STEAM Innovation Lab.

For a link to all the images, contact Communications Director Neva Cole.

STEAM Innovation Lab 1 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features high-tech equipment and software.

STEAM Innovation Lab 2 - Upon entering the STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH, everyone pledges to be a Scientist, a Technician, an Engineer, an Artist and a Mathematician.

STEAM Innovation Lab 3 -The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features high-tech equipment including iPads.

STEAM Innovation Lab 4 -The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features high-tech equipment including iPads.

STEAM Innovation Lab 5 --The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features high-tech equipment including iPads. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 6 -The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features high-tech equipment including iPads. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 7 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features iPads loaded with a new Game Maker coding app developed especially for the Museum by local software developer James Terry (far left) in collaboration with CMNH Educator Sarah Terry. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 8 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH features iPads loaded with a new Game Maker coding app developed especially for the Museum by local software developer James Terry (far left) in collaboration with CMNH Educator Sarah Terry. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 9 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH is equipped with a high-tech FLoid® Cell Imaging System that's capable of viewing cell structure. CMNH Educators have already extracted Strawberry DNA to examine with the system.

STEAM Innovation Lab 10 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH is equipped with a high-tech FLoid® Cell Imaging System that's capable of viewing cell structure. CMNH Educators have already extracted Strawberry DNA to examine with the system.

STEAM Innovation Lab 11 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab at the Children's Museum of NH will offer fun experiments like this "elephant toothpaste" explosion.

STEAM Innovation Lab 12 - The CMNH Game Maker coding app, featured in the new STEAM Innovation Lab and developed especially for the Museum by local software developer James Terry, gives kids a taste of what it's like to develop their own games from flow charts to animation!

STEAM Innovation Lab 13 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is designed as a prototype classroom of the future, with flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for a variety of tasks.

STEAM Innovation Lab 14 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab will be a great resource and destination for area classes throughout New Hampshire.

STEAM Innovation Lab 15 - The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has many programs, classes and workshops scheduled to take full advantage of the new STEAM Innovation Lab.

STEAM Innovation Lab 16 - The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has many programs, classes and workshops scheduled to take full advantage of the new STEAM Innovation Lab.

STEAM Innovation Lab 17 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is designed as a prototype classroom of the future, with flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for a variety of tasks, high-tech equipment and a screen/projector system. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 18 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is designed as a prototype classroom of the future, with flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for a variety of tasks, high-tech equipment and a screen/projector system. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 19 - During February 2016 Vacation Camp, a group of kids ages 6-12 got to beta test the CMNH Game Maker coding app in an exciting 3-day camp. Photo courtesy of Joan Oparowski.

STEAM Innovation Lab 20 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is designed as a prototype classroom of the future, with flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for a variety of tasks, high-tech equipment and a screen/projector system.

STEAM Innovation Lab 21 - This ArtBot is just one of the many inventions kids and families can work on creating during the STEAM Saturday workshop series.

STEAM Innovation Lab 22 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is stocked with a 3D printer which will be utilized by visitors of all ages to design and print their own creations, like this Yellow Submarine pendant, designed in honor of the Children's Museum of NH's popular exhibit.

STEAM Innovation Lab 23 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is stocked with a 3D printer which will be utilized by visitors of all ages to design and print their own creations, like this Yellow Submarine pendant, designed in honor of the Children's Museum of NH's popular exhibit.

STEAM Innovation Lab 24 - The new STEAM Innovation Lab is stocked with a 3D printer which will be utilized by visitors of all ages to design and print their own creations, like this Yellow Submarine pendant, designed in honor of the Children's Museum of NH's popular exhibit.

STEAM Innovation Lab 25 - The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.

STEAM Innovation Lab 26 - The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.

STEAM Innovation Lab 27 - The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.

STEAM Innovation Lab 28 -- The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.

STEAM Innovation Lab 29 -- The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.

STEAM Innovation Lab 30 -- The Children's Museum of New Hampshire has a long history of engaging young kids in every aspect of STEAM through classes, workshops and camps.