Discovering Science Centre Workshops

I only remembered that the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) conducts interesting workshops for children during the June holidays when we were invited to attend the Let’s Explore – The ‘Invisible Force’ workshop. For more attractions at the SCS, please check out my previous post. Previously my kids weren’t old enough to attend the workshops so it totally slipped my mind; but now that little girl is in Primary 2, we can start keeping a lookout!

Let’s Explore Workshop

In the Let’s Explore workshop, participants were each given an Air Kit (worth $49.90) to explore during the workshop and at home with parents. (Course fees: SGD80, does not include admission charges to Science Centre)

The participants were enthusiastic in volunteering their observations and answers to the questions in the workbook in the Air Kit. Apparently some of the participants had attended the earlier session – The Magical Magnet Workshop – and were definitely very warmed up to the trainer already. Besides the trainer, there were two other assistants who helped to check on the participants’ progress and ability to follow the pace of the workshop. I was supposed to stay for a short while for the workshop then leave to join my hubby and boy at KidsSTOP, but the workshop proved to be so interesting I ended up staying for the entire two hours with my girl. (Note: This is actually a drop-off workshop but I was invited to stay around to have a feel of the workshop)

Simpler and safe experiments were conducted by the participants at their desks, while the experiments which required more elaborate set-up and the use of fire were conducted by the trainer.

This is the first time that my girl’s so immersed in Science and I think it was really good exposure. In fact, she demonstrated clear understanding of the concepts that were covered during the workshop and I think that is a clear measurement of the success of any workshop. I was initially unsure if she would be able to follow as she was the youngest, but she proved to be much better at it than I thought! 😀 We will definitely be on the lookout for more of such workshops in the next school holidays. Be sure to check out the Events tab of the Science Centre Singapore too for workshops in the later part of the year!

Bitten by the workshop bug, I found another workshop in the Events tab that piqued our interest and immediately signed up for it – Bacteria. Fungi. Fermentation (B.F.F.) Workshop – a bread-making workshop for families (SGD40/ family pair; SGD20 for additional participant. Course fees do not include admission to the Science Centre).

Bacteria. Fungi. Fermentation Workshop

Attending the B.F.F. workshop with my BFF just felt right and creating beautiful memories and going through new experiences with each other are high on my list of priorities. As this workshop’s target age group is for 8-12 years old, little boy couldn’t participate and hung around SCS with my hubby instead for the three hours. When all the participants had arrived, we saw that there were families with younger children and I started to regret not having tried to sign up little boy too. 😛 He probably wouldn’t appreciate the Science bit but he would have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Excited to start class!

We started with the trainer, Mr Patrick, showing us how the yeast cells look like:

After some technical glitches, he went with the traditional method of teaching – using the whiteboard instead of Powerpoint. I learnt something new that day – that sourdough starter is made using only bread flour and water – there’s “wild yeast” in flour! It was also the first time I saw how yeast cells move and look like!

Then it was time to collect our dry ingredients:

Mix it all up!

Demonstrating how to knead the dough

Showing us what to look out for when the dough is done

Time to collect the wet ingredients

Pour in most of the milk

And more fun awaits

Getting dirty is part of the process :D

When the dough was ready for the first round of proofing, the participants were asked to check how many fingers they could put between the bowl and the dough before the bowl was wrapped and labelled. My girl asked the trainer to draw anything Star Wars on the cling wrap. Can you tell that it’s someone holding a light saber? 😛

Time to start the first round of proofing

While waiting for the yeast to do its work, Mr Patrick continued to tell us more about yeast, fermentation and the sourdough starter we used in making our dough.

He also showed the participants yeast cells and encouraged them to take turns to look through the microscope on their own.

You could definitely bake bread at home with your kids as a family bonding activity too – but I think having someone with expertise knowledge on the subject matter explaining the science bit to us was definitely useful, and not something a non-Science-inclined parent like me can replicate. 🙂

When the dough was done, participants were asked again to check how many fingers they could insert between the bowl and the dough.

Before we set off to shape the bread, Mr Patrick demonstrated some ways which we could shape and mold our bread and after that we got very busy!

Some of our little creations – it was pretty therapeutic to ‘play’ with the bread dough

Applying the egg wash

Everyone was curious how their bread would turn out!

It wasn’t too long before our bread was done!

We were very pleased with our bread and ate part of what we made for lunch and kept the rest for breakfast the next day! 😀

There will be another family bonding workshop at the end of the year in time for Christmas – log cake making. Remember to check out the Events Tab for more exciting workshops in the future! I’m glad I got to attend one last workshop before the end of the June holidays!

Have you attended any other interesting workshops at the SCS before? 

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Attractions at the Science Centre Singapore – June 2016

We went to check out the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) last week and I thought we’d share with you what (new) attractions it has to offer.

  1. Butterflies Up-Close

This beautiful piece of work is made of 1500 butterflies’ wings!

Developed in partnership with Sentosa’s Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom (BIK), Butterflies Up-Close showcases all four stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis – from egg to adulthood. I must admit that I’ve never been to BIK, and the closest I’ve been to butterflies was at Changi Airport’s Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2 & 3.

Butterflies Up-Close is informative with interactive touch points, live displays and a vivid storyline that flows across five zones where visitors will gain unique insights into the lives of butterlifes and learn more about their ways of life.

Zone One: Introduction

Learn about nine different butterfly species from around the world, before entering the exhibition.

Zone Two: Orientation

Taking a photo with the Atlas Moth

We learnt the differences between moths and butterflies through painted fiberglass models of the Painted Jezebel butterfly and the Atlas moth.

Zone Three: Egg, Caterpillar, Pupa

We learnt that sometimes the eggs are in a cluster

but most of the time, they are single eggs.

We loved this exhibit! Did you know the first food of the caterpillar is its own shell?

It was definitely engaging, especially for the children.

Zone Four: Enclosure

In the butterfly enclosure, we got to get really up-close to the fragile beauties, including Singapore’s national favourite, the Common Rose. There are about 500 butterflies of at least 17 different species from Singapore and around the region in the enclosure.

The Common Rose

He posed happily with the butterflies during our visit but my girl was squeamish and refused to go near them

And he got even braver and let a butterfly onto his forehead:

We also got to see the pupa stage:

The green ones are those that haven’t emerged as butterflies

We also learnt that butterflies, after they emerge from their chrysalis, need to hang on something till their wings are ready for flight (usually for a few hours) – at this stage, they are considered baby butterflies! 😀

Zone Five: Research Pod

Highlights of the interactive exhibition include a “Research Pod” where visitors can look at the iridescence on butterfly wings, find out how a butterfly views the world and observe butterfly specimens under microscopes and learn about their anatomy.

At an additional cost of $5 per bookmark/ $28 per frame, you can also bring back these souvenirs:

Watching his bookmark being laminated after personalising it on the back – that’s a real butterfly wing on his bookmark!

We chose a butterfly each for our wooden display frames – aren’t these butterflies gorgeous? 😀

Hubby chose the Great Mormon and I chose the Red Mormon – this photo was taken before we placed them into individual wooden box frames

If you haven’t checked out the Butterflies Up-Close and your little ones are learning about caterpillars/ butterflies/ moths/ life cycles or you happen to be reading The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (every kid reads this at some point right? Click the link for some activities we did when reading the book – a visit to such an exhibition would have been perfect, but there wasn’t any in the past), you should check it out at Hall D, Science Centre, 10am-6pm. Duration of the visit to this exhibition should take 45-60min. Admission charges – S$10 excluding admission to Science Centre Singapore. Suitable for 3 years old and up.

2. FunFair Maths

Funfair Maths is a travelling exhibition that celebrates the wonders of Mathematics. With over 20 interactive and playful exhibits, FunFair Maths allows visitors to slip naturally into the world of patterns, shapes and numbers where Math can be appreciated in a carnival atmosphere.

We spent quite some time here because the exhibits were really fascinating, even for non-Math geeks. The Math geek would need half a day here, checking out all the exhibits and games. Be warned if your companion is a Math geek, like mine.

We started with A-Maze-ing Math and it proved to be more difficult than it looks!:

Can you escape the maze by making right turns only?

We’ll only show you some of the games because there are too many to describe!

Double gravity well

The highlight of the exhibition (at least for the kids) was riding on a square-wheeled tricycle. (For safety, closed-toe footwear is strictly required to ride this exhibit). An adult-sized tricycle is available as well.

The highlight of the exhibition

Fun with Tessellation

Functions machine

It is obvious who enjoyed the exhibition the most.

Due to time constraints, we couldn’t finish the exploration of the entire FunFair Maths but we’ll be back to do it again since we have the Science Centre membership – we signed up for it earlier this year and it came with a Science magazine subscription as well as Omnitheatre passes and discounts to special exhibitions and KidsStop/ Snow City. If you live in the West like us, you should consider getting a membership too!

Venue: The Annexe Foyer (until 26 June 2016); Travelling exhibition from 12 Mar 2016 (end date TBC)

Cost: FREE (Science Centre Singapore admission charges apply)

3. Human Body Experience (HBX)

If you haven’t been to the Human Body Experience since it opened its doors on 31 May 2014, this is your last chance to catch it before it ends in early July.

I brought the kids on my own in October 2014, and I had to literally push them into the ‘mouth’ and down the throat. Even though they were initially excited about the exhibition then, they felt afraid and intimidated when they saw the real thing. Much has changed in that 1.5 years and they were both thrilled to enter the exhibition when we were there this June. Little Boy even went twice!

The HBX is a 3D interactive journey of the human anatomy, offering visitors an endoscopic view of how the body functions. It shows the inner workings of the brain, lungs, digestive system and circulatory system. Visitors enter through the mouth of a giant face and pass through a twisting maze of tunnels through the throat and stomach, and the intestines tunnels have a putrid smell, just in case you’re wondering.

The exhibits are sculpted representations of body parts and the exhibition is replete with special effects including strobe lighting, mist spray, confined spaces, unsteady surfaces, tactile sculptures, optical illusions, holograms, audio, 3D video and touch pads to provide a unique sensory experience that closely resembles the inside of a human body.

Closing on 3 July, the tickets are now $15 for adults and $12 for children (3-12 years old),  SCS entrance fee applies.  

Venue: Hall B, Science Centre Singapore

Duration: 20-30minutes

4. KidsSTOP

Photo taken on another day when we were there in May

We went to KidsSTOP in the afternoon after HBX. While my girl was attending a Let’s Explore – the ‘Invisible Force’ workshop conducted by the Science Centre (check out the Events tab for more workshops in the SCS website in the later half of the year), hubby was with little boy at KidsSTOP.

Playing at the Built Environment Zone

Their usual favourite things to do there include:

Photo taken in May, at the Dino Pit as paleontologists

Role-playing at the supermarket and cafeteria:

The Human body Zone is another favourite:

To experience the thrill of free fall at Giant J – a 7-m slide where visitors experience a sensation of free-fall before sliding to safety. Little boy went for 5.5m!:

What’s new at KidsSTOP is the Oceans’ Buddies exhibit. It is the first virtual ocean with sea creatures in 3-D form to educate children on marine life and how they can do their part to protect the environment and preserve ecosystems.

The key highlight is a visually stunning virtual ocean floor projected onto a wall where children can see their personalised sea creatures come “alive” as their creations take on a 3-D form.

Colouring in their chosen sea creature

And here’re the personalised sea creatures in 3D on the screen:

This is not a colouring activity where the children bring home their work. Instead, the amazing thing is that at the end of it, the children will bring their work to the staff and together with Pilot Pen’s revolutionary FriXion series pens and the special ink recycling machine provided by Toshiba which emits heat and erases the ink on the paper, the paper can be recycled and re-used up to five times! 😀

The kids were amazed that the colours disappeared!

KidsSTOP opening hours: 9.30am – 1.30pm, 2-6pm

Admission rates:

  • Singaporeans and PRs
    • Child (18 months – 8 years): $5 (weekdays), $10 (weekends and public holidays)
    • Adult (aged 9 years and above): $2 (weekdays), $5 (weekends and public holidays)
  • Overseas visitors and Local Residents
    • Child (18 months – 8 years): $20 (weekdays), $23 (weekends and public holidays)
    • Adult (aged 9 years and above): $10 (weekdays), $13 (weekends and public holidays)

For more details, please visit KidsSTOP.

5. Snow City

Our last stop for the day was the revamped Snow City. First opened in the year 2000, Snow City was revamped in 2015. It is Singapore’s only permanent indoor snow centre and public area, with average operating temperatures of -5 degrees Celsius.

Getting ready to enter!

The revamped Snow City features a new snow machine, the first of its kind in Asia, which is customised to produce soft, powdery snow of similar quality to real snow.

Can you see the drama-mama in action?

The coldest we’ve ever experienced as a family was Taiwan’s winter in 2014 and that is definitely nothing compared to the cold at Snow City. The new space also offers visitors tips on how to reduce their carbon footprint and how to combat global warming.

The kids went to play at the snow playground, with a real-life igloo, snow slides and snow sculptures of Snow City’s new mascots:

There’s even a tree house adventure playground to complete the Inuit lifestyle experience.

With the new snow machine, we are technically supposed to be able to make snow balls, but we failed. Fun, nevertheless.

Learning more about the Arctic and the Inuit:

Giant Suki’s Nest:

The highlight of the place was definitely the Snow Slope. It was 60-m of exhilaration and just like the Skyline Luge, once is never enough.

Snow City is open daily from 10am – 6pm (last admission at 5pm), and from 10am – 7pm on school and public holidays (last admission at 6pm). If you’re looking to beat the heat and learn to appreciate the warmth we enjoy daily, a trip to Snow City is in place. We spent about half an hour at Snow City before we turned into Rudolph, but that’s just us.

Admission rates:

1 hour Snowplay

  • Singaporeans/PR
    • Child (3-12 years old): $12
    • Adult: $15
  • Standard
    • Child (3-12 years old): $18
    • Adult: $18

2 hours Snowplay

  • Singaporeans/PR
    • Child (3-12 years old): $18
    • Adult: $25
  • Standard
    • Child (3-12 years old): $28
    • Adult: $23

For more information, visit Snow City.

Snow City is also home to The Cliff, an educational and exciting sport-climbing wall facility constructed on the facade of Snow City. You can read about our experience climbing at The Cliff.

 

Disclosure: Our visit to the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) is part of our collaboration with the SCS to showcase its exhibitions and events. We paid for a SCS membership at the start of the year, and all other personal trips to the SCS and its partners prior to the event were fully paid by ourselves. No monetary compensation was received.

 

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Lovely and constructive comments are welcomed. Do hop over to my Facebook page where I connect with my readers and I would love to have you following me on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram too 🙂

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