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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Australia 2014: Perth - The Scitech Experiment


Adventures in Science

We were thrilled to receive an email from Scitech, the premier science discovery centre in Western Australia, agreeing to our request for a media collaboration. Sue had read of Scitech in the Lonely Planet, and was very interested as there seemed to be many activities specialised for young children to help them learn through play. The centre's website provides the following information:

Scitech is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to increase awareness, interest, capability and participation by all Western Australians in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It was established in 1988 as a company limited by guarantee through the combined efforts of the Western Australian Government, leading industry figures and the State’s top scientists and educators.

The strong support from the WA Government, industry, universities and teachers is due to Scitech’s primary focus on raising awareness and participation in science to create scientifically literate citizens, and to support our teachers in educating our children about science.

Scitech’s mission leads to broad-based benefits to the State through the generation of a population skilled and appreciative of science and technology. Scitech reaches over 500,000 people annually and works directly with over 90% of Western Australia’s schools, teachers and students.
One of the boys' favourite exhibits, the hot air balloon.
Another interesting exhibit demonstrating how the movement of a plastic ball
can be channeled by wind energy.
Our 2yo son was fascinated with the effects of movement energy on musical instruments.
Here is our 2yo exploring what it feels like to be underwater.
And there were also exhibits to help children learn about life under the sea.

Discoverland

Scitech is a wonderful place for kids to expend their energies. In Singapore, we are all too used to indoor playgrounds. Scitech is almost like an enormous indoor playground, but with the added advantage of helping the children to learn science. And there is a special area which caters for kids aged 3-7. Our boys enjoyed that area greatly.
Our kids were especially fascinated by "Discoverland", with its exhibits
catering specially for those aged 3-7.
Z in particular was mesmerised by an interactive ball circuit which taught children
how to move objects through the use of different forms of energy by working together. 
This was another of our favourties; teaching children about levers, pulleys and forces using a mini construction site where children got to don helmets and collaboratively move bricks up a ramp to build a wall.
Kids would load the "bricks" from one station to another.
They would then learn about pulleys and how these can do the work of
many individuals.

Puppet Theatre

Besides the regular exhibits, there is also a special puppet theatre and planetarium. But as our younger child was below the age limit for the planetarium, we decided to opt for the puppet theatre. 
It was time for a break and listen to stories of the deep at the puppet theatre.
The audience was rapt in attention as the storyteller introduced them to the creatures that live at different levels of the sea.

Explorations


Scitech's exhibits are highly interactive. Unlike a number of other science centres, our experience at Scitech was that the children were encouraged to explore and learn at their own pace. There was no naysaying guard to stop the children from "overly" interacting with the exhibits, nor were there any harsh rules to inhibit the way children acted.

The children quickly got back into the groove. This exhibit was exploring the use of infra-red technology.
The kids spent lots of time at Waterlandia, which explores aspects of the
water cycle as children channelled the water flow by drawing and erasing
on the huge touch screen display.
Exploring the "vortex" effect.
Welcome to Scitech's very own live bee hive!
Quite amazing to see the little bees so busy at work in The Visible Hive. The bees fly in and out of the hive through a long see-through pipe channelled from outside the building. Amazing!
One of the ongoing exhibitions was Ingenious! It was about finding the extraordinary in the everyday. There were tinkering workshops for the children to participate in.
The kids had considerable amount of fun at this highly sensitive exhibit exploring the effects of
contours and weather patterns.
The kids were allowed to alter the terrain of the land by adding or removing sand.
They could alter weather patterns by hovering their hand above an area
to create rain, in a technique called augmented reality contour mapping.

We loved the large exhibition spaces where kids were free to experiment and learn.
This exhibit demonstrated the effect of a wind tunnel. 
And which boy cannot resist building his own car to race with other children?
Children were free to design and build whatever that was on their mind.
Fastest wins of course!
And it's not only cars that the kids got to race!
The hours fly by when you're having fun! Before we realised, it was time to go. But not before making a quick stop at the Discovery Shop where so many fascinating science-related items could be found - including magnets that are purchased by the university professors! We know that we will definitely visit again the next time we return to Perth. Scitech is truly a fantastic place to visit - with kids or otherwise!

Scitech is open from Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm. It is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Admission costs are at a reasonable price of AUD17.00 for adults and AUD11.00 for children. There are mini group packages as well, which you can find on their website.

Location:

City West Centre
Corner Railway Street & Sutherland Street
West Perth
Western Australia 6005


Note: This is a review arranged between Scitech and Parenting on Purpose. We received complimentary passes for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions expressed here are our own.

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