Events & Programs

Science On Wheels – Local Community Events

Enhance your events and community programs with Pacific Science Center’s science and math shows, workshops, exhibit sets and planetariums. Programs can be booked individually or combined to build a more wide-ranging experience. For community events located outside of King, Pierce or Snohomish counties, please call (206) 443-2925.

Book Your Science On Wheels Program

You can also submit a PDF version of the Registration Request Form to edprograms@pacsci.org or fax to (206) 443-6600.

Programs

Choose one or a combination of the following:

Science Shows

40-minute live science shows present scientific content and methods in a compelling and fun presentation. Audience participation and giant props make science pop with excitement.

Cost: Inquire for pricing.

Requirements:

  • 400 participants maximum
  • Large area such as a gym or multipurpose room
  • A stage or performance area
  • Two large tables for presenter(s)
  • Access to water and electricity
  • Access to a sound system, if available
  • Many shows must be performed inside; call (206) 443-2925 for more information.

Choose from the following shows:

Fossil Time
Dig into the past with Fossil Time. Learn how fossils form and how radioactivity reveals their age. Tour the fossil record and discover the earliest known living things. It’s Fossil Time!

Mathbusters
Explore the many ways we use numbers, shapes, probability and measurement every day and how we would be lost without them. This interactive show uses volunteers, games and a thrilling chemical reaction to demonstrate that math truly is a blast.

SENSE-ational Science
Explore your fabulous five senses! Put your taste buds to the test, make “scents” of mysterious odors, open your eyes to illusions and more! Geared toward audiences in grades PreK-2. A controlled fire demonstration (optional) is included in this show; call to learn more. Controlled fire demonstrations require a ceiling height of at least 12 feet.

Super Cool Science Show
Discover what happens when things get super cool with liquid nitrogen! Watch as gases become liquids, liquids become solids and matter fizzes, freezes and flies.

Volts & Jolts
Electricity is illuminated in a series of shocking experiments! Explore the properties of electricity with our hair-raising Van de Graaff Generator and Tesla Coil.

Exhibit Sets

Transform any large room into a science center! These hands-on science exhibit sets are designed to be an engaging “science playground” for all participants.

Cost: Inquire for pricing.

Requirements:

  • 25ft x 25ft covered area
  • 10-12 large tables (without chairs)
  • Access to electricity for most exhibit sets

Choose from the following topics:

  • Blood & Guts* (Anatomy and Physiology)
  • Brain Power (Neuroscience)
  • Engineering*
  • Harvesting Science* (Agriculture)
  • Mathblast
  • Neuroscience*
  • Physics On Wheels*
  • Rock and Roll (Geology)
  • Space Odyssey* (Astronomy)

*Exhibits in English and Spanish

Workshops

Engaging, content-rich, hands-on workshops taught by Science On Wheels educators.

Cost: Inquire for pricing.

Requirements:

  • 24 participants per workshop maximum
  • Access to a whiteboard, if available
  • Tables and chairs for participants
  • At least one staff member or adult must be present
  • Workshops must be scheduled consecutively on the same day
  • Workshops must be from the same science topic

Choose from the following categories:

Anatomy & Physiology

Grades K-2

 

 

Creature Features: Be a zoologist for a day! Explore comparative anatomy by taking a closer look at the skin and teeth of different animals. How does your heart rate compare to a hummingbird’s or an elephant’s?

You’ve Got Nerve: How is your brain like a detective? Use your senses to explore mystery scents and fabrics with different textures. You’ll see how information about the world around you is collected, then sent to and processed by the brain.

Bone Zone: Why do we have bones anyway? Assemble a mini skeleton and look at X-rays as you learn more about the shape, movement and function of bones. Examine real bone specimens!

Grades 3-5

Bone Zone: Assemble a mini skeleton as you explore the location and function of bones and joints. Use what you learn to look at X-rays and make a diagnosis. Examine real bone specimens! Best for grades 3 and 4. For grade 5, consider the Main Frame workshop.

Piece of Mind: Be awe-inspired by the power of the brain! Explore how your mind works, discovering more about memory and other brain functions using puzzles and fun activities. See a real brain specimen!

Visual Eyes: Have you ever looked into your own eyes or watched your eyes react to light and dark? Learn the names, locations and functions of the parts of the eye as you explore the remarkable world of optics. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Grades 5-8

Main Frame: What do we have in common with a cougar or an opossum? Cooperative groups will construct mini human skeletons and real animal skeletons and then compare their form and function. Students work in groups of 4-6. Desks should be arranged in clusters.

Cells R Us: Enter the microscopic world of the cell. Learn the basics of using a microscope as you get up close and personal with single-celled amoebas and compare different specialized cells in the body.

Visual Eyes: Keep your eyes peeled as we explore the science behind vision. Learn the names, locations and functions of the parts of the eye as you explore the remarkable world of optics. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Piece of Mind: Be awe-inspired by the power of the brain! You’ll explore how your mind works, discovering more about memory and other brain functions using puzzles and fun activities. See a real brain specimen!

Astronomy (See also planetarium workshops)

Grades K-2

Lighten Up: Our original story leads students in an exploration of the amazing properties of light as we experiment with a unique collection of objects and flashlights to learn about sunlight, reflection, rainbows and more. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Your Place in Space: Why is Earth a planet and Pluto a dwarf planet? Explore how astronomers classify objects in our solar system and create your own classification system!

Grades 3-5

Cosmic Colors: Become classroom astronomers as you use spectroscopic glasses to view celestial gases and discover the true nature of stars. Document camera highly recommended. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Plan It: Mars: Explore the science and mathematics behind planning space travel. Work with a team to design the next rover mission to Mars. Think like a NASA scientist to stay within budget and ensure the successful completion of your team’s mission! Students work in groups of three. DVD playing capabilities highly recommended.

Grades 5-8

Spectacular Spectra: What can astronomers learn about the lives of the stars from rainbows? Using spectroscopic glasses, analyze star gases to learn about stellar composition and evolution. Document camera highly recommended. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Lunar Logic: Why does the moon change shape? This workshop is an introduction to moon phases and lunar exploration. Listen to the voices of the Apollo 11 crew as an astronaut takes the first steps on the moon! Document camera highly recommended. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Plan It: Mars: Explore the science and mathematics behind planning space travel. Work with a team to design the next rover mission to Mars. Think like a NASA scientist to stay within budget and ensure the successful completion of your team’s mission! Students work in groups of three. DVD playing capabilities highly recommended.

Engineering

Grades K-2

 

 

Machine Makeover: Try your hand at being an inventor as you create a Lego Duplo Toolo® machine to help solve everyday problems. As mechanical engineers, you design a machine that will lift beams or scoop rocks!

Super Structures: Build structures that will stand tall! Perform tests to discover what makes a strong and stable building using foam blocks, wooden dowels, and mini foundations.

Radical Robots: How can robots help us solve problems? Kibo® robots will temporarily take over your classroom as you explore the world of robotics while becoming real robot programmers. Please move desks and chairs to the edges of the room prior to this workshop.

Grades 3-5

Bridge the Gap: Will your bridge survive? Test the limits of a K’NEX® bridge and discover what makes it stronger. Document camera highly recommended.

Material World: Receive a mystery substance that you can bounce, twist and stretch to the limit!  Brainstorm creative ways people might use it. Enjoy handling the mystery substance, which is a non-Newtonian fluid, that both flows and breaks. Document camera highly recommended.

Get In Gear: How does a mechanical engineer design an amusement park ride so that it spins the fastest?  Explore the spinning, whirling world of gears. Document camera highly recommended.

Radical Robots: Meet Kibo® the robot, and watch as your students use Kibo to develop and optimize programs and complete challenges while discovering the world of robotics and basic program design. Please move desks and chairs to the edges of the room prior to this workshop.

Grades 5-8

Bridge the Gap: Will your bridge survive? Test the limits of a K’NEX® bridge and discover what makes it stronger. Document camera highly recommended.

Enviro-Sleuths: Where should the town build the new mall? As environmental engineers, students determine water quality by testing pH and analyzing the presence of bioindicators. Student data is used to predict environmental impact on Yourtown, USA. Document camera highly recommended.

Wired Up: What is the best pathway for electricity? With the right connections, you can make bulbs light and motors run. Document camera highly recommended.

Geology

Grades K-2

 

 

Fantastic Fossils: Is it a rock or is it a fossil? Answer this question for yourself as you examine real fossils in our collections. This workshop is sure to make a “lasting impression.”

Radical Rocks: Can you write with a rock? Use scientific tools and tests to find out how you use rocks every day! Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Sand-tastic!: What is sand made of? How does it form? Make sand, explore sand from around the world, and use the tools of geologists to closely examine the exciting world of sand!

Grades 3-5

Crystal Clear: What are crystals and how are they formed? Discover the properties of these special minerals as you see, touch, sort and examine them. Attempt to grow crystals right before your very eyes!

Landform Logic: Is it Earth or Mars? Compare the geology of these two planets and discover the geological mysteries that rocks keep. Learn how to decipher satellite images of Earth, and use what you’ve learned to interpret some of the mysteries of Mars.

Mineral Madness: Examine unusual rocks with exciting scientific equipment. Use geological tests to determine the properties of minerals. Apply your new knowledge of their properties to learn the names and everyday uses of these minerals. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Magma Mountains: What is a volcano? Why do some volcanoes ooze and others explode? Compare the eruptions of Hawaiian volcanoes and Mount St. Helens, and explore volcanoes from around the world. Examine volcanic rocks and learn why eruptions can be so different through an “explosive” experience!  Document camera highly recommended. 

Grades 5-8

Landform Logic: Is it Earth or Mars? Compare the geology of these two planets and discover the geological mysteries that rocks keep. Learn how to decipher satellite images of Earth, and use what you’ve learned to interpret some of the mysteries of Mars.

Mineral Madness: Examine unusual rocks with exciting scientific equipment. Use geological tests to determine the properties of minerals. Apply your new knowledge of their properties to learn the names and everyday uses of these minerals. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Magma Mountains: What is a volcano? Why do some volcanoes ooze and others explode? Compare the eruptions of Hawaiian volcanoes and Mount St. Helens, and explore volcanoes from around the world. Examine volcanic rocks and learn why eruptions can be so different through an “explosive” experience!  Document camera highly recommended.

Math

Grades K-2

 

 

Mirror Image: Explore the world of symmetry while playing “The Reflection Game” using PentaBlocks™! Design colorful, symmetrical patterns and find symmetry in the world around you. Document camera highly recommended.

Sometimes Never: Take a spin with a colorful probability device to find out the chances of going to recess or visiting the library. Check predictions by recording spinner results on a wooden tile board to make a bar graph. Document camera highly recommended.

Big Things, Little Things: Our story of chickens in space initiates your exploration of perspective and scale. Match three-dimensional objects to aerial photos and discover that close-up objects appear larger and far away objects appear smaller.

Grades 3-5

Puzzling Pentominoes: Puzzled about pentominoes? A pentomino is a special arrangement of five squares that can make pictures and letters if you piece them together just right. Exercise your spatial reasoning using these cool puzzle pieces. Document camera highly recommended.

Collect All 4: How much money will you have to spend to collect all four of our unique cereal box characters? Dig deeply into “cereal” and wallets to graph and explore probability through the popular world of collecting. Document camera highly recommended.

Code Breakers: Did you know codes and ciphers are based on mathematical reasoning? Discover the math in real-world codes and ciphers by exploring secret messages. Break historical codes, decipher mysteries, and create your own form of communication based on logic and patterns. Document camera highly recommended.

Grades 5-8

Dynamic Dice: Explore polyhedrons while designing and playing carnival dice games. Game operators calculate and convert probabilities to choose prizes. Compare predicted probabilities to results. Document camera highly recommended.

NetShape Navigator: Learn to recognize the patterns in geometric solids by using fun Polydron™ manipulatives. Discover the mathematical connections between geometric solids and their “networks” or “nets” – a flat drawing that can be folded to form a 3-D solid. Document camera highly recommended.

Fabulous Fractals: Through exploration of everyday objects and exotic art, learn more about this living branch of mathematics that can help us understand chaotic events like weather or geometric patterns in nature. Document camera and DVD playing capabilities highly recommended.

Physics

Grades K-2

 

 

The Force: Can a magnet stick to a rock? Be surprised by the attractive force of magnetism! Discover the mysterious properties of magnets through exploration.

Good Vibrations: Dive into the wonderful world of sound with tuning forks, musical instruments and more. Investigate how people make and hear sounds. This workshop can get quite loud.

Leaping Lenses: Predict and observe which objects bounce light and which bend light by exploring with our unique kits. Watch a laser beam reflect and refract! Discover many places mirrors and lenses can be found. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

The Light Frontier: What is light? Discover the characteristics of light firsthand through exploration. Learn how to change light, discover different types of light and investigate the world of color! Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Grades 3-5

See-Saw Savvy: Discover which everyday objects are really levers in disguise. Build lever systems and experiment with this simple machine.

Charged Up: What is electricity and how does it travel?  Where does electricity come from? Learn about circuits and generators firsthand by designing electric circuits and generating electricity to power lights.

Good Vibrations: Dive into the wonderful world of sound with tuning forks, musical instruments and more. Investigate differences in pitch, volume and frequency and explore the ear and its ability to hear. This workshop can get quite loud.

Refraction Action: Observe the behavior of laser light as it interacts with different materials to understand reflection and refraction. Discover and discern between convex and concave lenses through exploration and sorting activities. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Grades 5-8

Electric Magnets: How are electricity and magnetism related? Find out by generating electricity with magnets and using electricity to make magnets. This workshop may be taught to a 4th grade class with previous electric circuit experience.

Refraction Action: Observe the behavior of laser light as it interacts with different materials to understand reflection and refraction. Discover and discern between convex and concave lenses through exploration and sorting activities. Ability to darken room allows for best results.

Pulley Power: Learn to lift heavy objects with ease. Design and explore pulley systems to find out how and why this simple machine makes work so much easier. Document camera highly recommended. Students will work in groups of three.

Planetariums

Bring our inflatable planetariums to your location for an astronomical show! Planetariums can be booked for three one-hour workshops or for a three-hour period with flexible scheduling for all ages and group sizes. Both options include a live experience facilitated by Science On Wheels educators.

Cost: Inquire for pricing.

Requirements:

  • 30 participants maximum
  • Large indoor space such as a gym or multipurpose room, planetarium dimensions are 25ft x 25ft x 12ft
  • Due to noise, this area cannot be used for other activities during planetarium workshop(s)
  • At least one staff member or adult must be present
  • Access to electricity
  • One of our planetariums requires participants to enter via a low tunnel, if any participants in your group have accessibility requirements, please let us know so we may provide appropriate equipment.

Grade-level workshops are designed for specific grade bands and support Next Generation Science Standards.

Grades K-2

Up in the Sky: Go on a stargazing adventure in our portable planetarium. Inside, learn your way around the giant “connect-the-dot” pictures in the sky.

Twilight Tales: Join in the telling of cultural myths from around the world related to the stars and constellations.

Grades 3-8

Star Search: Can you “read” the nighttime sky? Learn how to use a star map and then apply your new skills as you hunt for seasonal constellations across the sky in the portable planetarium.

Worldwide Skies: Can the sky be a calendar or a tool for navigation? Explore how the sky appears to change through the night and year and what these changes have meant to different people around the world. Hear star stories from different cultures as you identify a variety of constellations.

High School

A Star’s Life: Explore stellar evolution on a tour of different aged stars in Orion. Discover how fusion and gravity compete and what causes red giants, white dwarves and black holes. Travel to deep space to see the remnants of a star’s violent fiery death witnessed by astronomers in 1054!

Customized Planetarium Shows
Customized Planetarium Shows allow for flexibility in the length and content of each show for various audiences. Our Science On Wheels Educators can tailor shows for families, high school classes, and adults.

Not sure which program is right for you? Call (206) 443-2925 or email edprograms@pacsci.org. To learn more about Science On Wheels, review our Frequently Asked Questions.

TDD: (206) 443-2887

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