Hey Smithsonian - How do you keep students learning in the summer?

Summertime is here, and we’re big fans of keeping student’s minds engaged with cool activities and new experiences (like, for example, seeing the world!).  We talked to our friends at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. about what they are doing to help keep kids engaged in summer learning, and of course, year-round!

Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center was created for teens and tweens as an interactive and experimental learning space that brings the unique assets of the National Museum of Natural History out from behind the scenes! The space features 6,000 collection objects (dinosaur teeth, anyone?), and hands-on activities include science puzzles, touchscreen activities, lectures, and meeting with scientists. Visitors to the museum can usually only LOOK at the various objects on display. “We find that many of our students, after handling real specimens, using real scientific equipment and meeting science experts in Q?rius are getting more excited about science as a possible career option,” said Shari Werb, former director of education and outreach at the museum.

Q?rius doesn’t just inspire students exploring on their own or with a family member. School groups are welcome from October – June. Check out the Teacher’s Guide to Q?rius.

Special events at Q?rius include “The Expert Is In” demonstrations and talks – think you can stump a Smithsonian scientist with your questions? Events also include films, workshops, game testing, and more.

Kids in grades K-5 can enjoy Q?rius Jr. – a discovery room featuring hands-on museum objects and artifacts like fossils, skulls, shells, and minerals. Use microscopes and binoculars, or try on traditional clothing from around the world – what kid doesn’t love playing dress up?

Happy exploring!