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Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Celebrates Kids Week

REBEKAH ROBINSON, HOST: Remember how much fun science museums were when you were a kid? Touching things and learning cool facts were a blast! But thanks to two years of Covid, many kids haven’t been able to hold turtle shells or meet real-life scientists. Museums have been closed or at limited capacity. But now, things are finally changing. After virtual events last year, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is back for an in-person Kids Week. Do kids still remember how to have fun learning science, art and engineering? David Newtown reports.

DAVID NEWTOWN, BYLINE: It was cold and windy on the Hudson River this morning. But outside the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a line was forming. The McInneses journeyed here this week from Boston. The Intrepid was high on their list of sights to see. For Ellery, age 7, something in particular excited her.

ELLERY MCINNES: I’m excited for the astronaut stuff.

NEWTOWN: Ellery’s mom, Caitlin, was appreciative of Kids Week’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Better known as STEAM.


I love that a lot of the education systems, New York and Massachusetts I'm sure are like, have had an emphasis on STEAM and STEM. And I like that there's more museums and opportunities out there these days for kids of all ages to be able to experience those things.

NEWTOWN: Inside the Intrepid museum, it was much warmer. Children wandered between exhibits featuring marine life and camouflage. Laurel Zaima sat behind a booth with cards depicting scientists as superheroes. Children drew self-portraits of their own science superpowers. Zaima is here from Columbia University’s earth science program.

LAUREL ZAIMA: I think this event is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about different science concepts in a very hands on and fun way and hopefully encourage them to to pursue it in the future.

NEWTOWN: Kids Week happens every year, but this is the first year to happen in-person since Covid began. Jonathan Millard is the Manager of School and Teacher Engagement at the Intrepid. He emphasized the importance of hands-on learning. When kids can make connections to their own lives, when they can touch something, manipulate it, or figure out how to modify it – it makes them more interested in learning.

JONATHAN MILLARD: It's such an important experience for a child to be able to figure something out on their own terms instead of someone explaining it to them.

NEWTOWN: A couple booths down, Ella Son, 4, and her mom Hannah stood over a display of marine skelatons. Kristin Schreiber, with the Billion Oyster Project, was showing the little girl different kinds of shells. Ella was shy.

KRISTIN SCHREIBER: This one, the turtle shell. This is different from the seashell.

NEWTOWN: What does it feel like?

ELLA SON: Uh, like a turtle, or, uh, sticky.

NEWTOWN: What made the turtle shell sticky, Ella never said. But maybe the seed of an idea was planted, and she would be the one to figure out why.

David Newtown, Columbia Radio News


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