Here’s how the Sask. Science Centre is adapting its programs for kids at home during the pandemic

An attraction that typically aims to bring in visitors, the Saskatchewan Science Centre has ramped up its online offerings as the centre itself remains closed due to COVID-19

“What’s different is you can’t come to the Science Centre, so we’re coming to you,” said Science Centre CEO Sandy Baumgartner. “We’re coming to families into their living rooms, to their basements, to their backyards wherever they might be viewing online content from us.”

The centre has launched several online series since the physical facility closed to the public on March 14.

Nearly two months later, segments like “Science at Home” and “Ask Sally Science” have developed their own audiences on Facebook and YouTube thanks to the help of personalities like “Sally Science” and “Tommy Tungsten” plus experiments, dissections and more.

Off camera, the man known as Tommy Tungsten is Dave McCreary, who has taken on a different role in front of the camera for the pandemic.

“He’s a totally above-board businessman who sells pure elements,” McCreary said, describing Tungsten.

He says these types of programs have become critical during a time where many parents are working from home while at the same time looking for ways to keep their kids entertained.

“I think of it as ‘edu-tainment’. Normally when you had that moment where the kids needed something to do, you could just pack up and come through our doors and hang out for the whole day,” McCreary said. “That’s not the world we live in anymore.”

“Everyone’s doing something different but also delivering programming for our community for the families that know and love the Science Centre,” Baumgartner said. “It’s a good way for us to jump onto the need in our community.”

Mandy Pavlovsky and her family are normally near-weekly visitors at the centre.

She said not being able to go has been a big shift in routine for her two boys, ages six and three. But now they’ve become loyal viewers of the centre’s online offerings.

“The videos have been really great, they’re educational and I know our oldest son not being in school right now, as parents, it’s tricky to find educational resources,” Pavlovsky said. “It’s really nice to find something that’s local and relevant.”

Pavlovsky said her oldest son’s favourite segments have been “Ask Sally Science”, where viewers can submit questions about scientific topics to be answered on the show.

“We learned why the sky was blue, that’s one thing he’s really enjoyed is the engagement aspect,” Pavlovsky said. “Being able to submit questions and see them answered is very exciting when you’re six.”

A rotation of different segments is posted periodically every week and are available to watch for free.

The Science Centre is also delivering online versions of its science workshops for teachers to use during distance learning efforts, as well as public versions on Mondays and Wednesday.

Courtesy: Regina

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