Ann Marie Walker
ROCKFORD, Ill. (May 20, 2020) – Though Discovery Center remains temporarily closed due to state mandates, it continues to offer learning opportunities to area children and families. While the museum offers a variety of free digital learning resources, staff also felt the need to devise a non-digital way to reach children and families. With the help of Collins Aerospace Systems, Discovery Center is now able to provide direct, interactive learning resources to children without the need for a computer or other digital device.
Thanks to financial support from Collins Aerospace, Discovery Center is creating STEM at Home activity kits. The kits provide opportunities for children and families to explore science, technology, engineering and math without the need for a computer or other digital device. The five-week program provides kits with a different theme each week and includes one item from the Discovery Center Gift Shop, four activities, instructions, and supplies for three to five children to complete the activities. Themes include space, aerodynamics, balance, optical illusions, and rotation, all with engaging activities.
Kits are delivered weekly to approximately 150 families at six neighborhood sites in tandem with the YMCA of Rock River Valley’s Mobile Lunch program. Sites include Ken-Rock Community Center, Northwest Community Center, Orton Keys Housing Complex, Blackhawk Court, The Grove at Keith Creek and the YMCA. Discovery Center staff create the content, assemble the kits, and deliver them utilizing their Mobile STEM Lab van - also made possible thanks to funding by Collins Aerospace.
“Bringing science to families is an important part of our mission,” explains Sarah Wolf, executive director of Discovery Center Museum. “Whether the learning is happening inside our museum, or inside a child’s home at a kitchen table, our goal is to ignite curiosity and inquisitiveness – the same traits a scientist must have. The support from Collins Aerospace provides us a means to furnish all the materials a child needs to be an engineer or scientist.”
“We are thrilled that our students will have this opportunity, thanks to Collins Aerospace and Discovery Center,” states Dr. Ehren Jarrett, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. “These interactive STEM kits will help our families continue to encourage students’ curiosity at home, and especially focus on STEM skills. Our community partners have stepped up during this unprecedented school closure, and we truly appreciate their continued support.”
“Collins Aerospace is proud to support this unique Discovery Center program to help Rockford students continue to learn and develop during these challenging times,” said Eric Cunningham, executive director, Electric Power Systems at Collins Aerospace. “While we are all adapting to significant change, one thing that remains the same is Collins Aerospace’s commitment to investing in our Rockford community.”
Collins Aerospace’s support for the STEM at Home program builds on its longstanding support for Discovery Center. In recent years, the company has provided roughly $175,000 in funding to the museum, while its employees have contributed hundreds of volunteer hours. In addition to the Mobile STEM Lab, Collins Aerospace also sponsors the museum’s Air & Flight exhibit and Live Science Theater.
About Discovery Center Museum
Discovery Center Museum is a children’s science museum providing hands-on math, science and art experiences for all ages with over 250 hand-on exhibits, planetarium, special area for children ages 6 and younger, and an outdoor science park. Discovery Center Museum is the nation’s 5th Best Museum for Families according to USA TODAY/10Best.com, and one of 12 museums included in Forbes.com’s article, The 12 Best Children’s Museums in the U.S. In 2019 Discovery Center earned the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame distinction. The Museum is located inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 North Main Street, Rockford, Ill. General admission to the Museum is: $9 adults, $9 children (ages 2 to 17); free to Museum members and children age 1 and younger. Hours of operation are: 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week. For additional information, call (815) 963-6769 or log onto our website at www.discoverycentermuseum.org.
About Collins Aerospace
Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Collins Aerospace has the extensive capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and broad expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market. For more information, visit CollinsAerospace.com.
Ann Marie Walker
Power & Controls