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Professional Development

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Summer Brain Games from Museum of Science and Industry

This summer, families are invited to blast off to space with the help of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).

MSI offers families the opportunity to keep kids engaged and have some fun together with its annual Summer Brain Games program. Thousands of registrants from around the country have enjoyed the program the past three summers, participating in eight weeks of free and fun at-home science experiments designed to combat the "summer brain drain."

Families receive a free museum entry voucher when they sign up online at msichicago.org/summerbrain (one ticket per household). They'll also receive weekly e-mails with detailed instructions on eight different space-themed science activities, which can be easily done (with some adult supervision) using items found around the house or inexpensively purchased. Summer Brain Games is sponsored by Whole Foods Market Chicago.

The free Summer Brain Games activity guide, available in English and Spanish, may be downloaded at msichicago.org/summerbrain. The activities are a great way to learn about astronauts, astronomy, and other space, science, and engineering concepts. Learn about pressure as you launch a rocket into the sky, become an engineer and design a protective landing pod for an "egg-stronaut," and much more. It's a great way for families with kids of all ages to stay active and enthused as they learn more about the world around them.

"Kids lose about three months of learning over the summer, which means those first few weeks when school starts again is devoted to relearning the same concepts," said Bryan Wunar, the museum's director of community initiatives. "With Summer Brain Games, thousands of kids and their families join us to experiment, learn and have fun together. We are excited to bring back this program for a fourth year."

MSI will be bringing its Summer Brain Games activities into Chicago's neighborhoods this summer. High school students who are interning with the Museum this summer will spend time at 18 Chicago Public Library branches engaging children in space science experiments.

Here's what previous participants said:

  • "Our family had a wonderful time exploring and learning. The kids looked forward to having a different project to work on weekly."
  • "Trying the activities together made it worthwhile when the kids got to see that it works! The best thing my oldest said was that she learned the value of teamwork."
  • "This was such an easy and wonderful way to experience science that showed the kids science can be fun and done just about anywhere."

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. From groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can't be found anywhere else, to hands-on opportunities that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), the Museum offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to MSI's larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine, and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration!

MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. For more information, visit msichicago.org or call 773.684.1414 or 800.GO.TO.MSI outside of the Chicago area.

NOTE: At-home activities could easily be used in summer or afterschool programs. Help prevent summer brain drain!

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.