Face masks strongly recommended regardless of vaccination status

December 15, 2021

Discovery Center is updating its mask policy to strongly recommend wearing face masks while visiting the museum, regardless of vaccination status. However, masks are no longer required for visitors. Guests who want to continue to wear a mask are welcome to do so. In addition, our staff will continue to wear masks in public spaces within the museum. As conditions change, we will review this policy to ensure the health and safety of our employees and visitors.

For those interested in COVID-19 vaccinations or testing, Discovery Center recommends visiting the Rutherford County Health Department’s website at http://health.rutherfordcountytn.gov/testing.html.

Science Alliance of Tennessee museums to receive more than $1 million in funding from Institute of Museum and Library Services


NASHVILLE, Aug. 18, 2021—Tennessee science and children’s museums are set to receive more than $1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), announced the Science Alliance of Tennessee, a consortium of six non-profit science museums across the state.

The IMLS 2021 National Leadership Grants for Museums included $941,787 in funding for a coalition initiative led by the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro to promote and invest in science education in rural communities, entitled the “Tennessee Rural Impact Project.”

In addition, IMLS awarded $250,000 to Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum and $65,090 to Memphis Museum of Science & History under its Museum of America grant program. Cost-share and matching funds for all three programs will total nearly $2 million.

Science Alliance museums will launch the Tennessee Rural Impact Project in September by working with two cohorts of rural school communities (12 total). Its focus is on engaging, learning from, and supporting rural school districts, teachers, families, and communities through relationship building, asset mapping, and the collaborative integration and implementation of museum resources. Additional activities include the production of publications, virtual presentations, and a virtual tool kit. The project will illustrate the ways in which museums can collaborate to support STEM and literacy at the K-2 level, enhance teacher self-efficacy, attitudes and beliefs, and engage family and community, strengthening services for Americans who live in the most rural areas.

“We are grateful to IMLS for this amazing opportunity to better serve communities throughout our state. It represents the largest grant award in our 35-year history – and the largest awarded this year by IMLS in the Leadership category,” said Discovery Center President & CEO Tara MacDougall. “Providing rich, hands-on educational experiences to children of all ages and backgrounds is central to our mission, and that of the other Science Alliance members. This grant will help affect rural areas that are often difficult to reach via traditional on-site programming.”

Creative Discovery Museum’s $250,000 award will fund the fabrication and installation of an immersive natural science exhibit, UnEarthed. The exhibit gallery, which includes a new outdoor component, will give children and their families the opportunity to explore paleontology, fossils, entomology, weather events, volcanology and geology through age-appropriate, cross-disciplinary learning methods. These experiences will inspire curiosity about the natural world and provide foundational knowledge in the natural sciences which will support children’s learning in formal educational settings. The creation of UnEarthed is part of a comprehensive, $12 million renovation project that begins in September 2021.

Memphis Museum of Science & History (MoSH) was awarded a $65,090 Museums for America grant to produce a 2,500-square-foot exhibit accompanying Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, a traveling exhibit produced by the Newseum. MoSH’s exhibit has a working title of LGBTQ Memphis. Along with local LGBTQ history, the exhibit will highlight contemporary opportunities and challenges LGBTQ Memphians face and will connect local history to the national narrative. MoSH curators will work with community stakeholders to determine exhibit content and secure artifact acquisitions and loans to ensure the exhibit tells as complete and inclusive a story as possible. The exhibits will be on display June through August 2022.

“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”

The IMLS National Leadership Grants for Museums support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. The projects will receive funds totaling $6,387,709, and the organizations receiving the awards are matching them with $4,577,282 in non-federal funds. Only 15 projects were chosen from a pool of 74 applicants.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. It advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Its vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.

About the Science Alliance of Tennessee
With its six member institutions, the Science Alliance of Tennessee has an annual economic impact of $44 million, engaging more than 1.1 million Tennessee students, teachers and visitors of all ages in hands-on learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Member institutions include:

• Adventure Science Center, Nashville (Steve Hinkley, President & CEO)
• Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga (Henry Schulson, Executive Director)
• Discovery Center, Murfreesboro (Tara MacDougall, President & CEO)
• Hands-On Discovery Center, Johnson City (Andy Marquart, Executive Director)
• The Muse, Knoxville (Allison Comer, Executive Director)
• Museum of Science & History, Memphis (Kevin Thompson, Executive Director)

Discovery Center Updates Mask Policy

Aug. 17, 2021

Based on guidance from public health officials (both nationally and locally), beginning Aug. 18, 2021, Discovery Center will temporarily require all indoor visitors age 4 and older to wear a face mask or face shield in order to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. Face masks are not required when visiting outdoor areas.

“This decision was made in response to the exponential rise in cases of COVID-19 in general and the Delta variant’s impact on children in particular – most of whom are not yet eligible to be vaccinated,” said museum President and CEO Tara MacDougall. “We will continue to monitor the situation in our county and region, and follow guidance from public health officials, making adjustments to this policy as needed.”

Discovery Center members who have questions about this policy as it relates to their membership may email info@explorethedc.org.

For those interested in COVID-19 vaccinations or testing, Discovery Center recommends visiting the Rutherford County Health Department’s website at http://health.rutherfordcountytn.gov/testing.html.

In addition, Discovery Center is participating in National Immunization Awareness Month throughout August, sharing information and resources to highlight the importance of vaccines. We encourage you to talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure you and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines. For more information, visit https://explorethedc.org/immunization/.

Snack Attack – Veggie Roll-ups

Veggie Roll-ups

Join Rachel, our Registered Dietitian and snack expert, this week as she makes Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups.  This snack comes from https://www.littlebroken.com/3-easy-kid-friendly-snacks/ and is a great recipe to allow kids to get involved with both preparation and creativity in choosing what veggies you might use.  The basic ingredients include tortillas, cream cheese, a little shredded cheese, and vegetables of your choice.  Simply check your fridge and pantry for items you may already have such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, shredded carrots, olives, spinach/lettuce, herbs & spices.  The options are endless!  Watch the video, share it with family and friends and get creative with your own veggie tortilla roll ups.  Don’t forget to share your creations on social media using #DCSnackAttack.

Snack Attack – Stoplight Salsa

Stoplight Salsa

Stoplight Salsa is one of my favorite recipes to make at Snack Attack in the summertime!  The original recipe is called Stoplight Salad and is taken from the “Simply In Season Children’s Cookbook” by Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman*.  This recipe utilizes a colorful variety of fresh summer vegetables that are easy to find at local farms, markets or even grow in your own garden!

When we make this snack at the Discovery Center I often take the kids out to our raised bed gardens where we typically have basil, tomatoes and peppers growing.  This way the kids get to see and experience how the herbs and veggies grow; pick some of the ingredients straight from the garden; then use them right away in a tasty snack.  The ingredients in this recipe also allow a great opportunity for kids to practice slicing and chopping.  Young kids can use a plastic knife or butter knife to help chop tomatoes and green peppers and the littlest hands can help tear the basil into small pieces.  As you make this snack I also encourage you to use your senses to explore the ingredients.  Smell the basil, taste a bite of pepper, feel the smooth firm skin of the tomato.  See how the colors reflect the colors of a stoplight!  Talk with your kids about the way we use multiple senses when we cook and eat (sight, smell, touch, taste) and have fun making this fresh summer Stoplight Salsa!

You Will Need:

1 handful of basil or cilantro
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
1 can corn, drained
1 can cooked black beans, drained
1 clove garlic
1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
1.5 Tablespoons lime (or lemon) juice

Before you begin:  Wash your hands. Gather your ingredients.

Step 1:

Adult:  Open cans of corn and beans, rinse and drain. (If using fresh or frozen corn, cook as directed before adding to the mixture).  Chop bell pepper.
Child:  With a plastic knife, chop tomatoes into fine pieces (or use whole grape tomatoes).


Step 2:

Child:  In a large bowl, combine pepper and tomatoes with drained corn and beans.

Step 3:

Adult or Child:  Snip or tear basil or cilantro into small pieces and place in large bowl with veggie mixture.  Set bowl aside.

Step 4:

Adult:  Peel and finely chop garlic and place in a small bowl.

Step 5:

Adult:  Measure oil and juice into the small bowl with the garlic.
Child:  Whisk oil, juice, and garlic to combine.

Step 6:

Child:  Pour dressing over salsa mixture in the large bowl.
Adult:  Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 7:

Adult or Child:  Toss gently and serve with tortilla chips, wrapped in a soft tortilla, or as a salad.

*I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly so that canned vegetables can easily be used without having to open and use partial cans.  I’ve also started calling it Stoplight Salsa when we make this at Snack Attack since the kids don’t tend to get very excited about the idea of a salad for snack (anything to make vegetables sound more exciting helps motivate kids to try them!).  I serve it with tortilla chips and kids and adults have a great time dipping them into this fresh salsa!  It could also be used as a filling for quesadillas or a topping for nachos!  So have fun and be creative with this recipe and share your creations on social media with #DCSnackAttack.


Snack Attack – Banana Hot Dogs

Banana Hotdogs

That’s right everyone, July is National Hotdog Month and this year July 22nd is National Hotdog Day!  How are you going to celebrate?  You could, of course, consume the traditional hotdog but today I have an alternative option great for extending the hotdog theme into snack time!  This was a snack I found browsing Pinterest one time and thought it was the perfect snack for Hotdog Day – one that incorporates fruit, protein, grain, and fiber.  And even young kids can help assemble this banana hotdog snack.

For most young kids using half a banana and half a hotdog bun would be sufficient for a snack.  Or you can make this a fun easy meal by adding some veggies, and dairy on the side!

For Banana Hotdogs you’ll need:

Hotdog buns (whole wheat or white)
Peanut butter  (or an alternative nut butter)
Strawberry Jam
Small zip-top bag

Step 1:

Wash your hands and gather your ingredients.

Step 2:

Child or adult – using a butter knife or plastic knife spread a thin layer of peanut butter onto the inside of the hotdog bun.

Step 3:

Child or adult – Peel banana, place inside hotdog bun


Step 4:

Adult – spoon about 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam (or jam/jelly of your choice) into the corner of a zip-top bag.  With scissors cut the corner tip off the bag.
Child – squeeze jam onto the top of the banana.

ENJOY!!  Get creative with this snack!  What other kinds of “fruit hotdogs” can you create?  Or explore other “condiments” and “toppings” for your hotdogs – maybe blueberries or chopped grapes as relish!  We’d love to see where your snack attack imagination takes you.  Share your creations with us using #DCSnackAttack.

Happy Snacking!

Snack Attack – Mini Blueberry Pies

Mini Blueberry Pies

It’s summer and that means many delicious fruits and vegetables are coming into season!  Here in middle Tennessee blueberries are ripe and ready to eat from June til early July!  Just last week my family and I ventured out to a u-pick farm and picked three buckets full of juicy plump blueberries.  If you are interested in picking your own fruit this summer in Tennessee check out https://www.picktnproducts.org/pick-your-own.html to find a farm near you.  It’s a great activity that supports local farms and maintains social distancing.

Because so many fruits are in season in the spring and summer, fruit pies are a classic summertime treat!  While pies are typically quite, sweet this recipe for mini blueberry pies features individual graham cracker pie crusts to promote appropriate portions, minimal sugar, and an easy oat topping. And whether you use fresh or frozen blueberries you will benefit from nutrients such as Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber packed into these little blue gems of summer!


This recipe is adapted from Highlights High Five magazine from June 2018.  To prepare this recipe at home you will need:


1 package of 6 mini graham cracker pie crusts
1 teaspoon flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


2 Tablespoons old-fashioned oats
2 Tablespoons flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon melted butter

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:  1.  Wash your hands.  2. Have an adult preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1:

Place pie crusts on a baking sheet, evenly spaced.  (Optional:  cover baking sheet with aluminum foil before placing pie crusts on pan.)

Step 2:

Combine 1 teaspoon flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon orange juice in a medium bowl.  Mix until flour is dissolved.

Step 3:

Add blueberries to the bowl with the flour, sugar, juice mixture.  Stir to coat well.  Set aside.

Step 4:

Using your fingers or a fork, mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl until crumbly.  Set aside.

Step 5:

Spoon the blueberry mixture into the pie crusts until all the filling mixture has been used.

Step 6:

Spoon topping evenly onto each mini pie until all the topping mixture has been used.

Step 7:

With an adult’s help, place baking sheet with mini pies in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is lightly browned.  Cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

I would love to see how you make the recipe your own in creative ways!!  Maybe you’ll try other fruits like strawberries, blackberries, peaches or a mix of fruits; adjust the sugar or try spices other than cinnamon.  Explore, create, and have fun in the kitchen then share pictures of your snacks to social media using #DCSnackAttack so we can see them too!  Happy Snacking!

Snack Attack – Shopping Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Shopping During COVID-19 – USE ANY DATE

During the COVID-19 pandemic we are all doing our best to stay safe and slow the transmission of the coronavirus.  In this video Rachel, a Registered Dietitian, shares some tips for grocery shopping to help keep you and your food safe during this time.

Snack Attack – Red White & Blue Nachos

Join our Snack Attack expert & Registered Dietitian, Rachel, as she makes Red, White, and Blue Nachos for a fun and festive 4th of July snack!  To make this recipe at home you’ll need:  Blue corn tortilla chips, 1 cup salsa, and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or white shredded cheese of your choice).  Optional toppings include:  1 can sliced black olives, chopped tomato, or black beans, drained and rinsed.  Watch the video for step by step instructions or check out this link to the recipe: 


Food Safety & Snack Attack!

Rachel is a registered Dietitian and runs our Snack Attack program at the Discovery Center. Snack Attack is a program where children learn how to make nutritious snacks in s safe kitchen environment. Learn more about proper food handling and safety in the first video of our series.

Do That Science! Van de Graaff Generator

Van de Graaff generators create an electrostatic charge. The original machine was made to help with particle accelerators back in the 20’s. Now it is mostly used for static electricity experiments…like making hair stand up.

Static electricity is created when electrons jump from one material to another. Think about when you rub your shoes on the carpet then touch a doorknob…or a friend. Or, when you rub a balloon on your head and your hair stands up. These are small scale charges. Static electricity can come in big forms too. Lightning is the biggest example or a static charge.

For more Do That Science! go to https://dothat.science


Discovery at Home: Become a Bird Observer

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Become a Bird Observer!

Birds are all around us. They are extremely diverse by type and gender, yet the same in that they all have beaks, lay eggs, and are the only animals with feathers.


Birds are helpful by pollinating flowers, distributing seeds, eating problem bugs like mosquitos, and keeping rodent populations down.  Their songs are beautiful and distinct.

Become a bird scientist by observing birds’ behaviors. Where do you see them – in trees, at feeders, on the water? Are they little like a sparrow or the size of a robin or goose? What colors are they?

If you know the answer to these few questions, you can figure out what kind of bird they are, learn what they eat (notice their beaks for a clue), and hear what they sound like by using a free application from Cornell University called Merlin Bird ID.

And if you want, you can help other scientists track birds by reporting what you see. Have fun!

For more information:

Cornell and Merlin Bird ID: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org


Watch HERE for a Story Time for Young Learners

Bird Beak Types:  https://www.dkfindout.com/us/animals-and-nature/birds/types-beak/



¡Sé un observador de aves!

Los pájaros están a nuestro alrededor. Son extremadamente diversos por tipo y género, pero lo mismo en que todos tienen picos, huevos ponen, y son los únicos animales con plumas. Las aves son útiles polinizando flores, distribuyendo semillas, comiendo insectos problemáticos como mosquitos y manteniendo las poblaciones de roedores abajo. Sus canciones son hermosas y distintas.

Sea un científico de aves observando los comportamientos de las aves. ¿Dónde los ves, en los árboles, en los comederos, en el agua? ¿Son pequeños como un gorrión o del tamaño de un petirrojo o un ganso? ¿Qué colores son? 

Si usted sabe la respuesta a estas pocas preguntas, se puede averiguar qué tipo de pájaro son, aprender lo que comen (notar sus picos para una pista), y escuchar lo que suenan mediante el uso de una aplicación gratuita de la Universidad de Cornell llamada Merlin Bird ID. Si lo desea, puede ayudar a otros científicos a rastrear aves informando de lo que ve. ¡Que te diviertas!

Para más information:

Cornell y Merlin Bird ID: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org 

Tiempo de historia para jóvenes estudiantes:  https://www.facebook.com/discoverycenter/videos/1172779333083264/

Tipos de pico de pájarohttps://www.dkfindout.com/us/animals-and-nature/birds/types-beak/

Discovery at Home: Celebrating Freedom

Friday is June 19th – a special day commemorating the day back in 1865 when slavery was abolished in Texas, and more generally, the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the Confederate South. Here, thanks to Colors of Us (https://coloursofus.com ) are some great children’s books celebrating Juneteenth, for Elementary School, Middle School and High School students.

Visit here for annotations: https://coloursofus.com/10-childrens-books-celebrating-juneteenth/

Discovery at Home: Be an EarthWORMologist

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Be an EarthWORMologist 

Earthworms are awesome – they break down leaves and dirt and make tunnels that aerate our gardens and farms. They create nourishment for plants and pathways for air and water. Worms are wonderful to observe – the worm farm below makes it easy to see the incredible tunnels earthworms create. By observing, learning and appreciating worms, you can become an EarthWORMologist!


  • Clear plastic jar or 1 or 2-liter soda bottle container with top removed
  • Smaller plastic container 
  • Dirt
  • Sand
  • Gravel/Stones
  • Water 
  • Lid with air holes (or plastic wrap with air holes attached with rubber band)
  • Water
  • Used coffee grounds or oatmeal for food
  • Black cloth or construction paper
  • Earthworms

Find a plastic see-through jar or cut off the top of a 1- or 2-liter plastic soda bottle. Find a smaller container to put in the middle – perhaps an old spice container. (This will push the dirt toward the edges and prevent the worms from hiding in the middle so that you can see the tunnels they make.) After placing the smaller container into the larger one, add alternating layers of dirt and sand, each about an inch deep. Moisten as you go. If available, a bottom layer of gravel would be a great addition just in case of overwatering. Be sure to add some food.

Go outside and dig for worms. Worms like it cool, damp and dark. The best time to find worms is the evening. If looking in daytime, dig in shady, damp areas. These invertebrates breathe through their skin, so they must stay damp and cool. They have a mucus-like substance on their skin. Earthworms are segmented, and have bristles that help them move through the earth. They ‘hear’ by sensing vibrations. Place them in the prepared jar and cover with dark cloth or paper. Don’t disturb for a few days. Then remove the covering and check for tunnels. If you intend to keep your worms more than a few days, be sure to keep them moist, in a dark location, and to add food.

Visit Facebook SPARK Live to learn more about worms and hear a book about worms. 

Ser un EarthWORMologist 

Las lombrices son impresionantes- descomponen las hojas y la suciedad y hacen túneles que airean nuestros jardines y granjas. Crean alimento para las plantas y caminos para el aire y el agua. Las lombrices son maravillosas de observar – la granja de lombrices más abajo hace fácil para observar los increíbles túneles que crean las lombrices. Al observar, aprender, y apreciar las lombrices, ¡puedes convertirte en un “EarthWORMologist”!  


  • Tarro de plástico transparente o 1 or 2-litro botella plástica sin tapa
  • contenedor de plástico más pequeño
  • suciedad
  • arena
  • grava/piedras
  • agua 
  • Tapa con orificios de aire (o envoltura de plástico con orificios de aire unidos con banda de goma)
  • Cosita usada o avena para alimentos
  • tela o paper negra
  • Lombrices

Encuentres un frasco transparente de plástico o corte la parte superior de una botella de refresco de plástico de 1 o 2 litros. Encuentres un recipiente más pequeño para poner en el medio , tal vez un viejo recipiente de especias. (Esto empujará la suciedad hacia los bordes y evitará que los gusanos se escondan en el medio para que pueda ver los túneles que hacen.) Después de colocar el recipiente más pequeño en el más grande, agregue capas alternas de tierra y arena, cada una de aproximadamente una pulgada de profundidad. Humedeces sobre la marcha. Si está disponible, una capa inferior de grava sería una gran adición en caso de sobreagua. Asegúrate de agregar algo de comida.

Sal afuera y buscas gusanos. A los gusanos les gusta fresco, húmedo y oscuro. El mejor momento para encontrar gusanos es la noche. Si mira durante el día, cavar en áreas sombreadas y húmedas. Estos invertebrados respiran a través de su piel, por lo que deben permanecer húmedos y frescos. Tienen una sustancia similar a la mucosidad en su piel. Las lombrices de tierra están segmentadas y tienen cerdas que les ayudan a moverse a través de la tierra. Ellos ‘escuchan’ detectando vibraciones. Colóquelos en el frasco preparado y cúbralos con un paño o papel oscuro. No molestes por unos días. A continuación, retire la cubierta y compruebe si hay túneles. Si tienes la intención de mantener sus gusanos más de unos días, asegúrate de mantenerlos húmedos, en un lugar oscuro, y agregar alimentos.

Visitas Facebook SPARK Live para obtener más información sobre los gusanos y escuchar un libro sobre gusanos. 

Do That Science! Water Rockets

A little over a week ago, on May 30th, we had the first manned space launch from the USA in a decade! How awesome is that?!?

This week we thought we would take another look at rockets. Four forces act on a rocket during launch. As we are shooting off our water rockets, see if you can pick them out. If you can, grab your own water rocket launcher and a bike pump and try it out at home.

Thrust- This is the pressure at the end of the nozzle propelling the rocket.

Weight- The mass of the rocket and the pull of gravity trying to bring it back down.

Lift- The force that holds up the rocket (or an airplane) and counters the force of weight.

Drag- Force pushing back on the rocket as it moves through the air.

Check out this link for more details about these 4 forces. https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/roc…

NASA has put together a deep set of lessons, virtual simulators, and instructions for taking water rockets to the next level. You can find that here! https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/roc…

For more Do That Science! go to https://dothat.science

Discovery at Home: Celebrating Being the Same & Different

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There are many ways to help children develop positive attitudes towards others from both similar and different backgrounds. Celebrate the many ways we are the same and different with your children by reading or listening on line to one of the following books! There are on-line read-alouds for each one. Thanks to Penn State University for this annotated list.

The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss

In this story the star-belly and plain-belly Sneeches learn that neither type is superior and that they are able to get along and become friends.

The Color of Us by Karen Katz

This story explores how everyone in the neighborhood is a different shade of brown –
from peanut butter to chocolate – and does a great job of subtly explaining that people are all different shades of the same color.

Why Am I Different by Norma Simon

This book outlines the variety of ways people can be different from each other including hair color, size, language, and family.

It’s OK to be Different by Todd Parr

The author explores sensitive issues such as adoption and unusual things such as eating macaroni in the bathtub, but manages to explore diversity in all forms.

Find additional information here: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/betterkidcare/knowledge-areas/environment-curriculum/activities/all-activities/we-are-different-we-are-the-same-teaching-young-children-about-diversity


A 60-minute special “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” by CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families” will air on Saturday, June 6, at 9:00 a.m. CT. The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding





Hay muchas maneras de ayudar a los niños a desarrollar actitudes positivas hacia otras personas de orígenes similares y diferentes. ¡Celebra las muchas maneras en que somos iguales y diferentes con tus hijos leyendo o escuchando en línea uno de los siguientes libros! Hay lecturas en línea para cada uno. Gracias a la Universidad Estatal de Penn por esta lista anotada.

The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss

En esta historia, los Sneeches de vientre estelar y vientre llano aprenden que ninguno de los dos tipos es superior y que son capaces de llevarse bien y hacerse amigos.

The Color of Us by Karen Katz

Esta historia explora cómo todos en el vecindario es un tono diferente de marrón, desde mantequilla de maní hasta chocolate, y hace un gran trabajo de explicar sutilmente que las personas son todos diferentes tonos del mismo color.

Why Am I Different by Norma Simon

Este libro describe la variedad de maneras en que las personas pueden ser diferentes entre sí, incluyendo el color del cabello, el tamaño, el idioma y la familia.

It’s OK to be Different by Todd Parr

El autor explora temas sensibles como la adopción y cosas inusuales como comer macarrones en la bañera, pero logra explorar la diversidad en todas sus formas.

Encuentre información adicional aquí: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/betterkidcare/knowledge-areas/environment-curriculum/activities/all-activities/we-are-different-we-are-the-same-teaching-young-children-about-diversity

At Home Scavenger Hunt

Looking for something fun to do while at home? Here is a fun at-home scavenger hunt that you can do.  Some internet, some photos and some good old-fashioned hunting. Have fun and share some photos on Facebook or Instagram and tag the Discovery Center. We’d love to see how you are learning at home!

Download the scavenger hunt and play at home!

Discovery at Home: Dice Games

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Partner Math Games with Homemade Dice

Math games have been around for centuries, and have been used by many cultures. Games with dice provide a fun way to develop basic skills that include multiplication and addition, making predictions, developing strategy, and critical thinking.

Although dice can be a variety of shapes, traditional dice are cube-shaped with each of its six faces marked with a different number of dots from one to six. For theses activities, feel free to use dice you have at home, or make your own paper dice with the pattern included.

Here are just a few games to get you started:

Pig: addition and critical thinking
Goal: to be the first player to get to 100 (or whatever number you choose)

Materials: 2 die, paper and pencil for keeping score

  1. Player #1 rolls the dice and adds the number of dots on both in their head. They can either record this total and let the next player throw, or they can keep throwing, adding the total of each throw to the last (adding in their head) for as many turns as they would like.
  2. Challenge: if the Player throws a “1” before finishing their turn and giving Player 2 a chance, their total score for that round goes to zero. If they throw a double 1 (a single dot on both die), their total for the entire game up to that point goes to zero.
  3. Additions must be added without paper or calculator, and each player should check their opponent’s math.
  4. What strategies seem to work best?

Blockout: addition & multiplication, graphing, and area

Goal: Fill the paper with squares or rectangles using the numbers on the dice to define their size.

Materials:  2 die, graph paper (OK to make your own) and pencils (colored pencils optional)

  1. Players take turns rolling the dice and drawing a rectangle that matches the dots on the dice. Each player should have their own color or pattern to use to fill in their shape.
  2. Each rectangle cannot intersect or be contained in any previously drawn rectangles. If you cannot add a rectangle to the board on your turn, pass the dice to the next player.
  3. If all players pass in a row, the game is over.
  4. Decide the winner either by counting the number of rectangles, or by figuring the area of the rectangles of each and adding them together.

Create Your Own Partner Challenges

Goal: Create math challenges that support a variety of math skills. All players have to do the same challenge in any one round. The one with the higher number wins each round.

Materials:  2 or 3 die (per person or share), paper and pencil for keeping score.

  1. Throw 3 die and arrange to create the highest possible number.
  2. Take turns stating the next challenge – adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc.

Homemade Paper Die

Juegos de matemáticas con dados caderos

Juegos de matemáticas han existido durante siglos, y han sido utilizado por muchas culturas. Juegos con los dados proporcionan una  manera divertido de desarrollar habilidades básicas que incluyen multiplicación y la adición, hacer predicciones, desarrollar estrategias, y pensar críticamente. 

Aunque los dados pueden ser una variedad de formas, los dados traditionals tienen en forma de cubo, con cada una de sus seis fases marcada con un número diferente de puntos de uno a seis. Por estas actividades, no dude en usar los dados que tengas en casa, o hagas tus propios dados de papel con el patrón incluido.

Estos son algunos juegos para empezar:

El cerdo: adición y pensar críticamente
El objetivo: Ser el primer jugador en llegar a 100 (o algun numero elijas)

Los materiales: 2 dados, papel y lápiz para mantener la puntuación

  1. Jugador #1 tira los dados y suma los números de puntos en ambos en su cabeza. Puede grabar este total y dejar que el siguiente jugador tira, o puede seguir tirando, sumando el total de cada tira al último (sumando en su cabeza) por tantos turnos se gustaría.
  2. Desafío: Si el jugador tira un “1” antes de terminar  su turno y dar jugador 2 una oportunidad, su puntaje total por la partida va a cero. Si tira un doble 1 (un solo punto en ambos dados), su total por el juego hasta ese punto va a cero.
  3. Adiciones deben sumar sin papel o calculadora, y cada jugador debe revisar las matemáticas de su oponente.
  4. ¿Qué estrategias parecen funcionar mejor

Blockout: adición & multiplicación, graficar, y el área

El objetivo: Llenar el papel con cuadrados y rectángulos usando los números en los dados para definir su tamaño.

Materiales: 2 dado, papel cuadriculo (es bien que hacer tu propio) y lápices (lápices de color son opcional)

  1. Jugadores toman turnos tirando los dados y dibujando un rectángulo que iguala los puntos en los dados. Cada jugador deben hacer su propio color o patrón usar a llenar su forma.
  2. Cada rectángulo no puede intersecar ni estar contenido en ningún rectángulo dibujado anteriormente. Si no puedes añadir un rectángulo al tablero en tu turno, pasa los dados al siguiente jugador.
  3. Si todos los jugadores pasan en una fila, el juego ha terminado.
  4. Decide el ganador contando el número de rectángulos, o calculando el área de los rectángulos de cada uno y agregándolos juntos.

Crea tus propios desafíos

El objetivo: Crear desafíos matemáticos que apoyen una variedad de habilidades matemáticas. Todos los jugadores tienen que hacer el mismo desafío en cualquier ronda. El que tiene el número más alto gana cada ronda.

Materiales2 o 3 dado (por persona o comparte), papel y lápiz para mantener la puntuación

    1. Tira 3 dados y organiza para crear el número más alto posible.  
    2. Toma turnos indicando el siguiente desafío – sumando, restando, multiplicando, etc.

Los dados de papel caseros 

Do That Science: Fire. It’s Lit!

Different substances react at different temperatures. These are often called “burning points” or “smoke/melting/combustion points.” You can find movie and TV show special effects technicians utilizing this part of chemistry when they create their effects. Ever see a scene with a person running down the street on fire? There is a science to it! Today we’ll explore the burning points of a couple of different substances.

This is not an experiment you should try at home!

For more Do That Science! go to https://dothat.science

Art with Abby: Paper Mache

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! This lesson is all about paper mache! Learn new skills and have fun making your own creature! Watch the video below to learn more.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Art With Abby: Play Dough

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! This lesson is about making your own play dough at home. Come learn new skills and have fun unleashing your creativity! Watch the video below to learn more.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Exploring Sound with Cup Telephones

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What is Sound? Vibration! By using cups and string to build a cup telephone, you can explore how sound travels. Use your skills to observe, wonder, ask questions, and test.


  • 2 cups
  • 1-3 yards string or line
  • 2 large paper clips
  • Sharpened pencil
  • Optional: different types of cups and line

Building the Phone:

  • Use pencil to poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup
  • Push one end of string into a cup and tie it to a paper clip (keeps it from pulling back out).
  • Poke the other end through the bottom of the second cup and tie to the paper clip.

Testing the Phone:

  1. Take one end of the cup phone and put it up to your ear. Hold the cup just by the rim.
  1. Have your partner take the other end. Pull the string tight and talk into the cup.
  1. Explore these questions and create your own! The questions you might explore are endless!
  • Can you hear a whisper? A shout?
  • Does it matter if the string is tight or loose?
  • Are some kinds of cups or line better than others? How might you test this?
  • Does the length of string matter?
  • Can your message travel if there is a knot in the string?
  • Can four of you talk and listen together with 4 cups?


Sounds are caused by the vibration of objects.  The vibration or movement of a “sound-maker,” whether it is a plucked string or stamped foot or your voice, each has an impact on the air around it.  When you speak into the cup, your vocal cords vibrate. Feel your throat while you talk. This makes the surrounding air vibrate or move out in waves. This vibration is transferred to the bottom of the cup and then carried through the string.  The cup at the other end then also vibrates and also amplifies the sound (makes it louder).  Human ears are designed to catch sound waves.  The more sound gathered and directed into the ear, the better we hear. The outer part of the ear funnels the sound waves into the ear to the eardrum. The eardrum, a tight drum-like membrane, vibrates, causing subsequent movement of small bones within the ear, which your brain then interprets.


Explorar Sonido con teléfonos de tazas

¿Que es sonido? ¡Vibración! Usando las tazas y cuerdas para construir un teléfono de taza, puedes explorar cómo viaja el sonido. Usa tus habilidades para observar, preguntarte, hacer preguntas, y probar.


  • 2 tazas
  • 1-3 yardas cuerda
  • 2 clips grandes
  • Un lápiz afilado
  • Opcional: different tipos de tazas o cuerdas.

Building the Phone:

  • Usa un lápiz para hacer un pequeño agujero en el fondo de cada taza.
  • Empuja un extremo de la cuerda en una taza y átalo a un clip. (evita que no se tire hacia atrás).
  • Empuja el otro extremo a través del fondo de la segunda taza y ata al clip.

Probar el teléfono:

  1. Toma un extremo del teléfono de las tazas y ponlo a tu oreja. Sostenga la taza justo al lado del borde.
  2. Pida que tu compañero/a haga el otro extremo.  Estrechen la cuerda y Intenten comunicarse por medio del “teléfono.”
  3.  ¡Investiga los puntos siguientes y haga tu propio! ¡Las preguntas que podría explorar son infinitas!
  • ¿Puedes escuchar a su compañero/a susurra, y/o si grita?
  • ¿Importa si la cuerda se mantiene bien estrecha o si queda suelta?
  • ¿Algunos tipos de tazas o líneas son mejores que otros? ¿Cómo podría probar esto?
  • ¿Importa la longitud de la cuerda?
  • ¿Puede viajar tu mensaje si hay un nudo en la cuerda?
  • ¿Pueden cuatro de ustedes hablar y escuchar juntos con 4 tazas?



Los sonidos son causados por las vibraciones de objetos. La vibración o movimiento de un “fabricante de sonido”, si es un cuerda punteada o pie pisado o tu voz, tienen un impacto en el aire a su alrededor. Cuando habla en una taza, tus cuerdas vocales vibran. Toca tu garganta mientras hablas. Este hace que el aire circundante vibra o mueve en ondas. Este vibración es transferir al fondo de la taza y se lleva por la cuerda. La taza en el otro extremo vibra también y amplifica el sonido (hacer este fuerte). Orejas humanas se diseñan para capturar las ondas sonoras. La mas sonada acumula y dirigio en la oreja, el mejor oímos. La parte externa del oído canaliza las ondas sonoras hacia el oído hasta el tímpano. El tímpano, una membrana apretada similar a un tambor, vibra, causando el movimiento posterior de huesos pequeños dentro del oído, que el cerebro luego interpreta.


Discovery at Home: Exploring Colors with Salt Dough

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Exploring with colors can lead to beautiful things. Visit SPARK Live! to hear a book all about using color to make a community beautiful and check out the video by Moore College of Art alumnae Lindsay Deery as she shows you the fun that you can have in the activity below..https://www.instagram.com/p/CADBkyvA7bJ/

Then make your own salt dough and explore the many ways you can create new colors by combining the three primary colors – red, blue & yellow.

What You Need:

Food Coloring or paints (red, blue, yellow)Salt Dough 

Salt Dough Recipe 

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup water

Mix flour & salt , then water, and mix with your hands until not gummy – add more flour if too wet; add more water if too dry.Divide into three balls and add a different color to each one.

Divide each ball into little balls and then explore how 2 little balls of different colors combine to make a new color.


  • Visit Art with Abby to make colorful Nature Mandalas & do Batik
  • Visit SPARK Live to read how color changed a community in Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López

Explorar colores con masa del sal

Explorar con colores puede llevar a cosas hermosas. Visita SPARK Live! (insert link) para escuchar un libro sobre el uso del color para hacer un comunidad hermosa y mira el video de la alumna de Moore College of Art Lindsay Deery aquí https://www.instagram.com/p/CADBkyvA7bJ/  como ella te muestras la diversión que puedes tener en la actividad abajo.

Entonces haga tu propia masa del sal y explora las muchas maneras en que puedes crear nuevos colores combinando los tres colores primarios – rojo, azul, y amarillo.

Lo Que Necesitas:

El colorante alimentario o pintas (rojo, azul, y amarillo)
La masa del sal

La receta de la masa del sal

  • ½ taza de harina
  • ¼ taza de sal
  • ¼ taza de agua

Mezcla la harina y la sal, luego el agua, y mezclas con tus manos hasta que no gomoso – agrega más harina si la mezcla está demasiada mojada; agrega más agua si está demasiado seca. Divide en tres pelotas y añada un color diferente a cada una. Divide cada pelota en  pequeñas pelotas y luego explora como 2 pequeños pelotas de diferentes colores se combinan para hacer un color nuevo.



  • Visita Arte con Abby a hacer mandalas de naturalezas coloridas y haga Batik.
  • Visita SPARK Live para leer como color cambió un comunidad en Maybe Something Beautiful por F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell y ilustrado por Rafael López.

Art with Abby: Beautiful Glue Batik

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! In this lesson, we’ll be creating a batik, which is a highly decorated fabric using a process originated in Indonesia! Learn more by watching the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Do That Science: Whatsa Matter

We’re thrilled to bring you a new video series from our friends at Do That Science!

Watch as John and Jack demonstrate something…that matters.

Matter is everywhere, because it is everything! The three most common states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Now, let’s do some exploring with matter phase changes!

For more Do That Science! go to https://dothat.science

Discovery at Home: Facial Expressions Challenge

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Good communication skills are critical in our society. This includes not only what we say but also how we say it and what we are doing when we communicate. Facial expressions, arm movements, hand motions, sign language, and body language are all ways of communicating nonverbally.

Have fun exploring how you interpret the facial expressions of others and the ways you show your emotions – whether you intend to or not.

What To Do:

  • Write or print out and cut apart the attached Emotion Cards. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD»
  • Sit or stand facing your partner.
  • One person should pick an emotion card without showing it to their partner.
  • Without talking, use your face and body to show the feeling on the card.
  • Have your partner try to guess the feeling.
  • Do this a few times and switch.

Reflecting on Communication

Did you read each other’s expressions accurately? Think about:

  • How could you tell that I was angry, surprised, etc.?
  • What clues caused you to read an expression incorrectly?
  • How do you and your partner differ in showing the same emotion?
  • What parts of your body do you use to communicate?
  • When do you watch a person’s face?

Reading facial expressions of a friend or grownup may sometimes be easy or sometimes more challenging. Interpreting messages correctly can sometimes be tricky. For example, misunderstandings during communication between people of different cultures can often be traced to signals that are appropriate for one culture, but not for another. Always pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal signals and ask if you have questions about the message you are hearing.

Expresiones Faciales

Las buenas habilidades de comunicación son fundamentales en nuestra sociedad. Esto incluye no sólo lo que decimos, sino también cómo lo decimos y lo que estamos haciendo cuando nos comunicamos. Expresiones faciales, movimientos del brazo, movimientos de la mano, la lengua de signos, y el lenguaje corporal son maneros de comunicación no verbal.

Diviértete explorando cómo interpreta los expresiones faciales de otros y los maneros muestra tu emociones – si usted tiene la intención o no.

Expresiones Faciales:

  • Escribir o imprimir y cortar las tarjetas de emociones adjuntas.
  • Siéntate o párate viendo hacia tu compañera.
  • Una persona debe elegir una tarjeta de emoción sin mostrándosela a su compañero.
  • Sin hablar, usa tu cara y cuerpo para mostrar el sentimiento en la tarjeta.
  • Haz que tu compañera trate de adivinar el sentimiento.
  • Repite esto algunas veces y luego cambien.

Reflexionar sobre la comunicación

¿Leíste las expresiones del otro con precisión? Piense en:

  • ¿Cómo puedes decir que estaba enojado, sorprendido, etc.?
  • ¿Qué pistas te hicieron leer una expresión incorrectamente?
  • ¿En qué se diferencian usted y su compañero en mostrar la misma emoción?
  • ¿Qué partes de tu cuerpo usas para comunicarte?
  • ¿Cuándo miras la cara de una persona?

Leer expresiones faciales de un amigo o adulto a veces puede ser fácil o a veces más difícil. Interpretar los mensajes correctamente a veces puede ser complicado. Por ejemplo, los malentendidos durante la comunicación entre personas de diferentes culturas a menudo se pueden rastrear a señales que son apropiadas para una cultura, pero no para otra. Siempre preste atención a las señales verbales y no verbales y pregunte si tiene preguntas sobre el mensaje que está escuchando.

Art with Abby: Nature Mandalas

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! In this lesson, we’ll be making “nature mandalas”! A mandala is a geometric shape that represents the universe in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Watch the video below to learn more.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Sorting Animals Game

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Can you tell the difference between a mouse and an elephant? How are they different? How are they the same? Based on what you observe about animals you can sort them into groups like a scientist might!

As you and your partner play this animal sorting game, pay special attention to the similarities and differences among the animals. Do some have wings while others do not? Do they have the same number of legs? The things we notice about the way animals look and act are called traits.

Once you figure it out, think back about the animal your partner secretly chose during the game. List all of the traits that you used to figure it out.

How to play:

1. Click here to download and print cards
2. Cut out each card along the dotted lines.
3. Can you think of other animals to add to the game? List the animal and a few of its traits.
4. Place them face-up with the pictures showing.
5. Have your partner secretly choose a card. Your goal is to discover which animal he/she selected.
6. Sort the cards into two groups based on the animals’ traits. For instance:

  • Animals that live in water OR animals that live on land
  • Animals found at Discovery Center or not
  • Animals designed by Abby, Discovery Center’s Artist in Residence*

7. Have your partner point to the group that contains the animal they secretly chose.
8. Place the other group aside. Continue to sort the remaining cards by selecting one new trait at a time to divide the cards.
9. Narrow down your choices by sorting cards and removing groups until only one card remains.
10. Switch roles and play the game again.

Now go on a walk and see if you can find evidence of animals having been there.

Download and print sorting animals chart»

Be sure to:

Los juegos de clasificación de animales

¿Puedes distinguir entre de un ratón y un elefante? ¿Cómo son diferentes? ¿Cómo son iguales? Basado en lo que observas sobre animales, ¡puedas clasificarlos en grupos como un científico podria!

Mientras tu compañero y tu juegan este juego de clasificación de animales, preste especial atención a las similitudes y diferencias entre los animales. ¿Algunos tienen alas, mientras que otros no? ¿Tienen el misma número de piernas? Las cosas que notamos sobre el sentido que los animales parecen y actúan se llaman los rasgos.

Cuando resuelves lo, reflexiona sobre los animales tu compañero escogío en secreto durante del juego. Haz una lista de todos los rasgos que usan resolverlo.


1. Descargar e imprimir tarjetas
2. Corte cada carta a lo largo de las líneas punteadas.
3. ¿Puedes pensar en otros animales para añadir el juego? Enumere el animal y algunos sus rasgos.
4. Colócalo la boca para arriba con las imágenes que se muestran.
5. Pida tu compañero elija en secreto una carta. Tu meta es descubrir qué animal seleccionó.
6. Ordena las cartas en dos grupos basado en los rasgos de los animales. Por ejemplo:

  • Los animales que viven en el agua o animales que viven en la tierra.
  • Los animales encontrado a Discovery Center o no.
  • Animales diseñados por Abby, la artista en residencia a Discovery Center.

7. Haz tu compañero apunte al grupo que contiene el animal que elegío en secreto.
8. Coloque el otro grupo a un lado. Continúa ordenando las cartas restantes seleccionando un nuevo rasgo a la vez para dividir las cartas.
9. Reduzca sus opciones ordenando tarjetas y eliminando grupos hasta que solo quede una carta.
10. Cambia de rol y juega el juego de nuevo.

Ahora ve a dar un paseo y mira si puedes encontrar evidencia de animales que han estado allí.

Descargar e imprimir tabla»

Esta seguro a:

Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 4

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The final lesson for designing your dream house is all about furnishings. In this session, you’ll get to be an expert craftsperson! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 3

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The third lesson for designing your dream house is all about decorating. We’ll get to play the role of interior designer, making the space beautiful and functional! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Earth Day – Plarn

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Take a look around your home, and look for things that are made of plastic, glass, or cloth. When those objects are all used up and thrown away, what do you think happens to them? Unfortunately, most of these materials end up in dumps or landfills, where they take up extra space and can be harmful to the environment.

April 22, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! This day serves as a great reminder that it is especially important that we think of our impact on the environment. In 1970, Governor Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day. Nelson wanted to inspire people from all over the United States to learn more about the environment and to take action to help keep nature clean. The first Earth Day was a massive success, as the event attracted 20 million people nationwide. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is Climate Action, which challenges everyone to act upon the risks climate change will have on our planet.

We can help our environment by following the three R’s: Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. Recycling is taking objects such as used soda cans or plastic bottles, and making entirely new objects.

We can also help our environment by reducing the amount of waste we use. By reducing the amount we use, we can cut down the demand of making products and also reduce the amount of trash we make in our homes.

Finally, we can reuse objects in our own home to make different objects. How many plastic bags are in your home right now? If you have a lot, those bags can be repurposed into something really cool: Plarn! Plarn is a type of yarn made from plastic. While you can’t make a cozy sweater out of plarn, you can make other cool crafts like mats and bags!

1) Flatten a plastic bag by the seams and smooth out and wrinkles that are in the bag.

2) Fold the bag from side to side (the handles will still be on top), and then fold this way once more.

3) Using scissors, cut off the top part where the handles are, as well as the bottom.

4) From here, you can cut one inch wide strips from side to side. If done correctly, you should have several loops of plastic bags.

5)The next step is to connect the loops. Take two loops, pull one end of the second loop through the first loop from underneath, then pull through the second loop. This should tie the two loops together.

Repeat these steps until you have the amount of plarn you want, then you can crochet it like regular yarn! Try using bags of different colors to make beautiful designs! If you would like to learn how to crochet, go to https://www.mybluprint.com/article/new-to-crochet-heres-how-to-crush-it

Reusing materials such as plastic is a fun and creative way to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. What other Earth Day crafts can you think of that reuse things in your house?

Additional sources:


Echa vistazo en su casa y busca por cosas estén de plástico, vidrio, o tela. Cuando esos objetos se usan y se tiran, ¿què crees que les pasa? Desafortunadamente, la mayoría de estos materiales terminan en vertederos, donde ocupa espacio adicional y puede ser perjudicial para el medioambiente.

Es especialmente importante este mes que pensemos de nuestro impacto en el medioambiente porque el miércoles 22 de abril de 2020 es el cincuenta aniversario del Dìa de la Tierra. En 1970, el gobernador Gaylord Nelson de Wisconsin organizò el primer Dìa de la Tierra. Nelson querìa inspirar a personas de toda los Estados Unidos a aprender màs sobre el medioambiente y a tomar medidas para ayudar a mantener la naturaleza limpia. El primer Dìa de la Tierra fue un èxito masivo, ya que el evento atrajo 20 millones personas. El tema por la Dìa de la Tierra este año es Acciòn por clima, que desafía todos a actuar sobre los riesgos que tendrà el cambio climático en nuestra planeta.

Podemos ayudar nuestra medioambiente por él siguiendo los tres R’s: Reducir, Reciclar, y Reutilizar. El reciclaje es utilizar objetos cosas como las latas de refrescos usadas o botellas de plástico para hacer objetos completamente nuevos.

Este banco hecho de tapas de botellas recicladas.

También podemos ayudar a nuestro medioambiente por reduciendo la cantidad de residuos que usamos. Al reducir la cantidad que usamos, podemos reducir la demanda de los productos y también reducir la cantidad de la basura hacemos un nuestras hogares.

El uso de botellas de agua de metal rellenables como estas puede ayudarnos a reducir la cantidad de botellas de agua de plástico que necesitamos.

Finalmente, podemos reutilizar objetos en nuestra propia casa para hacer objetos diferentes. ¿Cuàntas bolsas de plásticos hay en su casa ahora? Si tienes mucho, esas bolsas pueden reutilizar en algo muy genial: ¡Plarn!. Plarn es un tipo de hilo que es de plástico. Mientras que no puede hacer un suéter acogedor de plarn, ¡puede hacer otras artesanías interesantes como esteras y bolsas!

1) Aplane una bolsa plástico por la costuras y alise las arrugas que haya en la bolsa.

2) Dobla la bolsa de lado a lado (Las asas estaràn en la parte superior), y dobla una vez más.

3) Con tijeras, corte las asas y el fondo.

4) De aquì, corta tiras de una pulgada de ancho de lado a lado. Si se hace correctamente, debes tener varios lazos de las bolsas plasticos.

5) La próxima medida es conectar los lazos. Tome dos lazos, tire de un extremo del segundo lazo a través del primer bucle desde abajo, el tirón a través del segundo lazo. Esto debe unir los dos bucles.

Repita estas medidas hasta que tenga la cantidad de plarn que desea,¡Entonces puedes hacer el ganchillo! ¡Intenta a usar las bolsas de colores diferentes para hacer diseños hermosos! Si quieres a aprender a hacer el ganchillo: https://www.mybluprint.com/article/new-to-crochet-heres-how-to-crush-it

¡Una alfombra de plarn es un trabajo genial que puedes hacer con tus materiales!

La reutilizaciòn de materiales como plástico es una forma divertida y creativa de reducir la cantidad de residuos que se destinan a los vertederos. ¿Què otras artesanías del Dìa de la tierra puedes pensar en que reutilizar las cosas en tu casa?

Additional sources:


Discovery at Home: Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 2

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The second lesson for designing your dream house is all about construction. We’ll use recyclables, bits of fabric, and other small treasures. Come learn new skills and have fun making your dream house! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Hummingbirds

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It’s Hummingbird Time!

It is time for us to welcome the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to Tennessee and invite them to stay all summer long. Hummingbirds are starting to fly into and through Tennessee now, so it is the perfect time to attract them. Then get ready to observe their spectacular behaviors!

Watch the video below to see a hummingbird build its nest and, about halfway through, the birth and development of its young. Although filmed over several weeks, it is compressed to 10 minutes. Don’t miss seeing the young hummingbirds at the end! Filmed by Ray McConnell.

Make a Hummingbird Feeder: Be creative and use household materials! For example, use plastic water or half-and-half bottles poked into plastic food container lids to hold the nectar. Be sure to hole punch or poke small holes into the corners of the red lids so the hummingbird can get to the nectar. Hang with string, wire or a bent clothes hanger.

Make Some Nectar: Mix 1 part (¼ cup refined white sugar – important not to substitute! *) and 4 parts (1 cup boiling water). Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and pour into feeder. Await hummingbirds. *Plain white table sugar is sucrose, which, when mixed with water, very closely mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar.

Be A Scientist:
1. Observe what flowers are in your yard, local park, or playground. Which ones attract birds? Bees? Butterflies?
2. Want to report sightings to scientists? See below.

3. As you watch the hummingbirds, notice:
• How do they interact with other hummingbirds – do they seem to get along or are they territorial?
• What can you notice about how they move around? Are they able to change directions quickly? Hover? Can they fly upside down? Backwards?
• Do they perch to drink? Drink while flying? Can you see how they drink?
• What sounds do they make?

Fun Facts for Ruby-Throated Hummingbird:
• Hummingbirds are unsociable. They can often be seen chasing away other hummingbirds in order to protect their ‘food source’.
• Male and female hummingbirds do not bond after mating. The female is left to care for eggs and chicks alone.
• Hummingbirds are one of the few groups of birds that are known to go into torpor – a very deep, sleep-like state when all of their body functions slow down for a night to conserve energy – like a short hibernation.
• A ruby-throated hummingbird’s heart beats from 225 times per minute when at rest and at more than 1,200 times per minute when flying.

Hummingbirds are arriving now. They fly from Mexico or northern Central America – about 500 miles nonstop! If you want them to visit you, now is the time to put out feeders! There are almost 340 different species of Hummingbirds, but only one, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, actually breeds in the eastern USA, including here in Tennessee.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a long thin bill and an iridescent (shimmery) green back. Both the male and female are white underneath. The male has a brilliant iridescent red gorget (throat) that can sometimes look black or red. Hummingbird babies can be seen between June and September, and look more the like the adult female. By the end of the summer, the juvenile males often develop a few red feathers in the gorget. They have itsy-bitsy nests that you need to look out for when trimming bushes! The open-cup nests are about the size of a large walnut and built out of white puffy seeds of dandelion or thistle, held together with spider web silk and covered with lichen. A few other species of hummingbird can be found in Tennessee later in the summer, but are here only to winter, not breed.

Learn more about:
• Nests: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/attracting-hummingbirds/hummingbird-nest-facts/
• Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in TN: https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/birds/forest-birds/ruby-throated-hummingbird.html
• Tracking Migration: https://www.hummingbirdcentral.com/hummingbird-migration-spring-2020-map.htm
• Free App to Report Sightings & Help Track: http://www.hummingbirdsathome.org

¡Es hora del colibrí!

Es la hora de dar a la bienvenida al colibrí garganta rubí a Tennessee y invitarlos a quedar todo el verano. Los colibríes están empezando a volar en y a través de Tennessee ahora, por lo que es el momento perfecto para atraerlos. Prepara a observar sus comportamientos espectaculares!

Haz un alimentador del colibrí: Sé creativo y usa materiales domésticos! Por ejemplo, use botellas de plástico empujadas en las tapas de los recipientes de plástico para sujetar el néctar. Asegúrese de perforar el punzón o hacer pequeños agujeros en las esquinas de los párpados rojos para que el colibrí pueda llegar al néctar. Cuelgue con cuerda, alambre o una percha de ropa doblada.

Haz el néctar: Mezcla 1 pieza (¼ la taza de azúcar blanco refinado – ¡No sustituyas!*) y 4 piezas (1 la taza de agua hirviendo). Mezcla hasta el azúcar se disuelva. Enfriar y verter en el alimentador. Espera los colibríes. * Azucar blanco es la sacarosa, que tiene un composición química parecido a néctar natural.

Sé un científico:
1. Observa las flores en tu jardín, tu parque local, o tu patio de recreo. ¿Cuáles atraen los pájaros? ¿Las abejas? ¿Las mariposas?
2. ¿Quieres reportar los avistamientos a los científicos? Véase más adelante.

3. Mientras observas a los colibríes, fíjate
¿Cómo interactúan con otros colibríes: parecen llevarse bien o son territoriales?
¿Qué puedes notar sobre cómo se mueven? ¿Son capaces de cambiar de dirección rápidamente? ¿Suspender? ¿Pueden volar boca abajo? ¿Hacia atrás?
¿Se posan para beber? ¿Beber mientras vuelas? ¿Puedes ver cómo beben?
¿Qué sonidos hacen?

Datos curiosos sobre el Colibrí Garganta Rubí:
Los colibríes no son sociables. A menudo se les puede ver persiguiendo a otros colibríes con el fin de proteger su “fuente de alimento”.
Los colibríes macho y hembra no se unen después del apareamiento. La hembra es dejada a cuidar de los huevos y los polluelos solos.
Los colibríes son uno de los pocos grupos de aves que se sabe que entran en torpor – un estado muy profundo, similar al sueño cuando todas sus funciones corporales se ralentizan durante una noche para conservar energía – como una hibernación corta.
El corazón de un colibrí de garganta rubí late de 225 veces por minuto cuando está en reposo y a más de 1.200 veces por minuto cuando vuela.

Los colibríes están llegando ahora. Vuelan desde Mexico o el norte de Centroamérica – ¡unas 500 millas sin escalas! Si quieres que te visitan, ¡ahora es el momento a poner los alimentadores! Hay casi 340 especies diferentes de los colibríes, pero solo una, el colibrí garganta rubí, en realidad se reproduce en el este de los Estados Unidos, incluso aquí en Tennessee.

El colibrí garganta rubí tiene un pico largo y fino y una espalda verde iridiscente (brillante). Tanto el hombre y la hembra son blancos en sus estómagos. El hombre tiene una brillante garganta roja iridiscente que a veces parece negra o roja. Los bebés de colibríes se ven entre los meses de junio y septiembres y se parecen más a la hembra adulta. Para el final del verano, los hombres juveniles a menudo se desarrollan algunas plumas rojas en su garganta. ¡Tienen nidos pequiñitos que necesitas estar atenta a cuando recortas los arbustos! Los nidos abiertos son del tamaño de una nogal grande y construido sin semillas blancas hinchadas de diente de León o cardo, sostenidas junto con la telaraña y cubiertos de líquenes. Algunos otros especies de los colibríes se pueden encontrar en Tennessee más tarde en el verano, pero están aquí sólo para el invierno, no la raza.

Aprende más sobre:
Nidos: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/attracting-hummingbirds/hummingbird-nest-facts/
El colibrí garganta rubí en TN: https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/birds/forest-birds/ruby-throated-hummingbird.html
La migración: https://www.hummingbirdcentral.com/hummingbird-migration-spring-2020-map.htm
Free App to Report Sightings & Help Track: http://www.hummingbirdsathome.org

Discovery at Home: Box Turtles

Meet our box turtles!

Tre is our three-toed box turtle, and Bud is our eastern box turtle. They are both land turtles; they do not swim in the water. They are called “box turtles” because they can close their shells like a box.

These turtles can live for a very long time – up to 100 years! Box turtles are very smart and can make a mental map of where to find food, water and shelter in the wild.

Discovery at Home: Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 1

We’re adding a new series to our Discovery at Home video resources: “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home!

The first lesson is “Design a Dream House.” We’ll use recyclables, bits of fabric, and other small treasures. Come learn new skills and have fun making your dream house! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit explorethedc.org/artwithabby.

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Discover Your Yard

Do you know what an explorer is? Can you think of any examples of an explorer? When we think about explorers, we most often think about people who travel the world and get curious about new people, places, things, and ideas. Explorers often have a mission in mind, and set out on an adventure to complete their mission. You can be an explorer where you live! Invite your grown up to join you on an exploration of an outside space near you – your backyard or lot nearest your home, and have fun exploring!

Activity 1: Imagine You’re a Tourist & Dress Up

Your first mission in exploring the space surrounding where you live is simple: Imagine you are a tourist! A tourist is someone who visits a place because they are curious about it. Put on a homemade explorer’s outfit, and go out into your yard or community with the hope of finding something new or exciting. What can you find in your home to wear?

Activity 2: Create & Add to Your Explorer’s Log

Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and create your very own Explorer’s Log. This is where you will keep a record of everything you discover during your backyard adventure.

  • Decorate it to give your Explorer’s Log its own personality.
  • Write down everything you notice around you! What do you see out there?
  • After you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the space, sit down to examine what you have recorded in your Explorer’s Log. What makes you curious?
  • Add your questions and curiosities to your Explorer’s Log.

Activity 3: Adventure On

Explorers don’t stop after they collect questions; they adventure onward to identify answers! For example:

  1. Did you wonder about the design of the space? Maybe you saw a fence, and you are wondering how someone builds a fence. What do you notice about the fence’s construction? What shapes are used? How does it stay in place? Can you design and build your own small fence with simple materials at home, like legos, blocks, or rocks outside?
  2. Maybe you saw small wildflowers. How might you figure out what kind they are? What can you design with those? Maybe you can use the flowers to decorate your Explorer’s Log. Can you make jewelry with the flowers, like making a flower chain necklace?
  3. A successful explorer always asks questions – and that might include talking with others. Are you still looking for answers to some of your adventure curiosities? Interview someone older than you who might be able to share new and exciting things about the history and science of the space you explored. Record this in your Explorer’s Log.
  4. You have been such a stellar explorer! What have you learned? Invite family members to take a tour of the space or share your Log. What can you show them? Dress up and take them on a new adventure! Are there things they wonder about that surprise you?

Activity 4: Adventure On with Play

One of the most powerful ways to learn and explore is to PLAY! Try out some new ways to play in your yard space. Write down what you learn through your play in your Explorer’s Log. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Skygaze – Lie on the grass, or ask your grown up for a blanket to put down. Look up at the sky. What do you notice? Is it blue? Is the sun bright? Is it cloudy? Do you see shapes in the clouds? Write down your observations and your curiosities in your Explorer’s Log.
  • Go on a color walk – Write down all the colors of the rainbow in your Explorer’s Log. Talk a slow walk around your backyard, and make notes each time you see one of the ROYGBIV colors! What color do you see the most in your yard? Are there any colors missing? Can you find the full rainbow of colors?
  • Build a fort – Create your own Explorer’s Station by building your own fort! What materials can you find? Will you use only materials you find outside, or will you go back inside to get some materials?
  • Build a fairy house – There are legends that say that FAIRIES live in nature! What if fairies lived in your yard? Create a house for them!
  • Make art with found materials – What materials can you collect from your yard space? Unleash your inner artist and create your own masterpiece with found materials. What art will you create?

Discovery at Home: Water Turtles

Meet our water turtles!

Here are some water turtle facts:

– The many species of water turtle can be recognized by webbed feet and flat shells.
– These physical traits are adaptations to help turtles live and move in the water.
– As cold-blooded reptiles, water turtles must find warmth from external sources, such as the sun or a heat lamp.
– There are many types of water turtles at Discovery Center, such as red-eared sliders and river cooters.
– Similar species of turtle can be found in the Murfree Spring wetlands.

Discovery at Home: Exploring Animals Around Us

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What can you notice about the animals around you?

Have you ever watched animals closely? By noticing what is the same and different between animals, you can learn about them. Like a scientist, you and your grown-up partner can write down what you notice about animals. This is called making observations.

What to do:

  • Find an animal with your partner. Remember that bugs, birds, and your pets are all animals.

  • Sit and watch the animal. How many legs does the animal have? What is covering the animal’s body? What is it doing?

  • People are animals too! Compare the animal you observed to your partner.

Two things that are the same about the animal and my partner are…

Two things that are different about the animal and my partner are…

We call the things animals do their behavior. Did your animal have any behaviors similar to your partner’s?

Other things that we noticed about the animal we found…


El descubrimiento en la casa: Explorar Los Animales En El Mundo

Qué notas sobre los animales que ves?

¿Alguna vez has observado muy atentamente a los animales? Los científicos notan las similitudes y diferencias entre los animales y de esa manera aprenden sobre ellos. Al igual que los científicos, tú y tu compañero(a) pueden observar cosas sobre los animales y anotar lo que observaron. A esto se le conoce como “hacer observaciones”.

Qué hacer:

  • Sal con tu compañero y encuentra un animal. Recuerda que los insectos y pájaros también son animales. Si no puedes encontrar un animalito afuera, puedes usar tu mascota, ¡si tienes una!

  • Siéntate y observa al animalito. Anota lo que observes sobre su cuerpo. Por ejemplo, ¿cuántas patas tiene?¿Que cubre su cuerpo?

  • ¡Una persona también es un animale! Compara el animal que observaste con tu compañero(a).

Al observar al animal nos dimos cuenta que…

Dos cosas similares entre el animal que encontramos y una persona son…

Dos cosas diferentes entre el animal que encontramos y una persona son…

A las cosas que hacen los animales les llamamos “comportamiento”. ¿Demostró tu animalito algún comportamiento parecido al tuyo?

¿Qué otra cosa observaste sobre el animal que encontraste?

Discovery at Home: Waffles the Rabbit

Meet Waffles!

Waffles is our domestic house rabbit. Domestic rabbits can live 8-12 years. A rabbit’s diet consists of a steady supply of hay, with snacks like carrots as a treat. Waffles’s favorite treat is a handful of Cheerios.

Rabbit facts:

  • A male rabbit is known as a buck, while a female is called a doe. The baby rabbits are collectively known as a litter. The teeth of a rabbit are very strong and they never stop growing. There are currently 45 known breeds of rabbits.
  • Rabbits not only can and do pass gas, but they need to! While this may sound humorous, it’s no laughing matter for rabbits, as this gas build-up is extremely painful and can become fatal very quickly unless properly released, sometimes requiring medical intervention.
  • Rabbits and hares beat this problem with a special kind of digestion called hindgut fermentation. In short, they eat their own poop and digest it a second time. Bunnies actually make two different kinds of droppings: little black round ones and softer black ones known as cecotropes that are eaten.
  • Rabbits lick for affection, not for salt. Licking means “I love you, I trust you.” Lunging may occur when you reach into your rabbit’s cage to clean, give food, or to take your rabbit out – a sign of disapproval.

Discovery at Home: Rubber Bands

What can you do with a rubber band?

Rubber bands are thick or thin, long or short, tan or more colorful. They are made of rubber. Find as many rubber bands around your home as you can. Thicknesses, lengths and purposes vary. How many ways can you think of to use a rubber band? The uses are endless!

Be A Scientist!

Scientists start by noticing things. Hold a rubber band in your hand. What do you notice about it? What color is it? What does it feel like? Does it smell? How does one rubber band compare to another?

What do you wonder? Perhaps:

  • Is a wide rubber band easier or harder to stretch than a narrow one?
  • Is a longer rubber band of the same thickness more or less stretchy than a smaller one?
  • Which rubber band shoots the furthest?
  • Does a rubber band float or sink?
  • How is a rubber band made? Where does the rubber come from?
  • How is a balloon like a rubber band?


  • Design a test to see which rubber bands are stretchy’est, or go the farthest. Does the width of a rubber band affect how far it goes?
  • What happens when you put a rubber band in water?
  • Have partners pull on different rubber bands. When stretched, do different rubber bands sound different?

Rubber Band Guitar Fun for Children & Adults

Combine rubber bands and empty containers to create a family rubber band band! What works best? How did the size of the containers or the material they were made of affect the sound?

Can you change the pitch (which is how high or low sound is)?

Exploring, playing with the materials, and asking questions are what being curious is all about! As you explore, you might ask your child:

  1. What are you noticing? How might you describe what you see? What could you try? How could you test that? What would happen if….?
  2. When they describe what they want to do next, ask them first to predict – what do you think might happen? Try it!
  3. The questions are endless.
  4. Hint for Adults: Don’t interrupt the exploration with information or expertise. Just keep asking questions.
  5. Extend your experimentation by asking more questions! Explorations are endless!
  6. Join in and have fun!!

Background Information

Rubber comes from rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis tree)! It starts as a liquid substance called latex that is found under the bark. They are native to rainforests in the Amazon region of South America. Rubber trees grow in low-altitude moist forests, wetlands, riparian zones, forest gaps, and disturbed areas. Rubber trees are not native species to Thailand, but they are now the largest producer in the world of natural rubber having developed rubber tree plantations.

As you stretch the rubber bands, you will notice that you can change its pitch. The pitch of a sound is related to how fast something vibrates. When something vibrates slowly, it has a low pitch or low frequency. When it vibrates quickly, it has a high pitch or high frequency.

Want more information? Check out these two kid-friendly sites that describe where rubber comes from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAFPJ8pEdA – Maddie Moate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDM7rnX2jpA – Kayla’s Travel Channel for Kids


Discovery at Home: Stanley the Ferret

Meet Lord Stanley, our domestic ferret!

In our latest installment of Discovery at Home, we’re exploring domestic ferrets, which are closely related to the Black Foot Ferret of North America.

Here are some ferret facts:
– Ferrets are carnivores, which means they eat meat.
– Here at Discovery Center, we feed Stanley cat food.
– Ferrets are playful creatures and their long bodies are perfect for burrowing in small areas.
– In the wild, they inhabit dens of other animals.

Share you ferret facts and questions in the comments!

Discovery at Home: Exploring Milk

What is in Milk?

Milk comes in many forms. It is available as a liquid or powder, and is sold in bottles, boxes, or cans. Milk may come from cow, grains, nuts or vegetables. Do you drink milk? What kind?

Milk contains different amounts of sugar, proteins, and fat (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, half-and-half, heavy cream….). Compare the ingredients of these 5 kinds of cow’s milk. What do you notice?

If you have milk in your house, what kinds do you have? How is it the same or different from these? Do you have milk that is not from a cow? Soymilk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, pea milk, goat milk? (Tell us what you find at our Facebook page where we’ve posted a link to this activity: https://www.facebook.com/discoverycenter/) There are many reasons to choose what type of milk to drink. Why do you drink the milk you do?

Be a Scientist!

Scientists start by noticing things. What do you notice about what is in these different milks? What can you learn from the nutritional facts? Which ones have more fat? Less fat? Notice the serving sizes – are they all the same? If not, how do you compare one kind of milk to another? Taste, health, allergies, ethics – thinking about the many reasons people might choose a specific kind of milk.

Milk Fat Fun for Children & Adults

Here is a fun experiment to do with milk that will get you and your child(ren) exploring, and asking a lot of questions. Exploring, playing with the materials, and asking questions are what being curious is all about!

You will need milk, water, food coloring and dish soap. A cotton swab would be useful if available. (Hint: use milk with some fat content.)

1. Put some water in a rounded saucer and some milk in a second saucer.
2. Place 2-4 drops of food coloring in each. What do you notice?
3. Dip the cotton swab (or the tip of your finger) in dish soap and then gently touch the water in the center. What do you notice? Does anything happen? Then do the same with the milk. What do you notice?

4. Keep exploring. You might ask your child:

a. What are you noticing? How might you describe what you see? What could you try? How could you test that? What would happen if….?
b. When they describe what they want to do next, ask them first to predict – what do you think might happen if you add more soap? Try it!
c. The questions are endless. What do you think might happen if you add more soap? What will happen if it sits? What if it is mixed? How many times can you add soap and still get an explosion of color?
d. Hint for Adults: Don’t interrupt the exploration with information or expertise. Just keep asking questions.
e. Extend your experimentation by comparing the explosions of color using different kinds of milk or types of soap. The explorations are endless!

Background Information

While mostly water, milk also contains proteins and varying amounts of fats. If the milk you used had fat in it, you probably saw the food coloring stay as a drop until the soap was added (Step #2). And then – an explosion of color! The food coloring in just the water probably spread out some but did not change even when soap was added (Step #3). The addition of soap to the milk solution resulted in parts of the fat in the milk and parts of the soap particles (molecules) separating, interacting, combining, twisting, and moving. The more fat, the more movement. Once the pieces of soap and fat are all combined, the movement slows down. However, keep trying – sometimes more soap can lead to yet another explosion of color.

Want more information? Check out these sites:


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

These are challenging times for all of us, but the Discovery Center is here to help you and your family have fun and keep learning while we contend with school closures and social distancing.

Going forward we’ll be offering Discovery at Home – Resources for Home Learning & Play! You can find details at https://explorethedc.org/discoveryathome/. We are sharing resources for home learning and play, including activities, videos and favorite staff-picked links. Our goal is to continue engaging curious minds to fuel the future, so be sure to stay connected via social media, especially our Facebook page and blog.

We’re so grateful for the community that has been a part of Discovery Center for so many years. Remember that we’re all in this together, and we will do everything we can to continue engaging curious minds to fuel the future!


UPDATED 6/1/20

Discovery Center remains closed to the public. We will begin reopening for select programs soon!

Stay tuned for announcements regarding upcoming programs and opportunities to return to the museum. In the meantime, we will be open for on-site camp programs in June. More info»

Please note: The boardwalk in the Murfree Spring wetlands is open.



Discovery Center extends closure through May

The museum will remain closed for the month of May. Stay tuned for upcoming camp registration and outdoor programming opportunities.

Please note: The boardwalk in the Murfree Spring wetlands is open.


EXPIRED UPDATE – 3/24/20, 6:30 p.m. CDT

Discovery Center extends closure through April

As our community continues efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Discovery Center has made the difficult decision to remain closed to the public through at least April. During that time, all events and programs are effectively canceled or postponed.

The decision reflects guidance from public health officials who recommend an extended period of closures to help slow the spread of the disease. Staying at home remains the most helpful way to prevent exposure and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system.

Although our facility is closed, we are here to help you and your family have fun and keep learning from home via our Discovery at Home – Resources for Home Learning & Play, available at https://explorethedc.org/discoveryathome/. These resources include activities, videos and favorite staff-picked links. Our goal is to continue engaging curious minds to fuel the future!

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves. If there are any changes to our operations, we will keep the public informed at https://explorethedc.org/covid.

As we contend with this extended closure, we want to express our deep appreciation for the many members and supporters who have made it possible for us to continue limited operations. Your support is vital to our mission. It funds continued care for the exhibits and animals that call the Discovery Center home. In addition, we are grateful for front line health care workers, truck drivers, grocery store clerks, and many others who are continuing to provide essential services.

For those who are able, we ask that you consider these additional ways to support Discovery Center during this challenging time:

  • Make a donation to support the museum while we are closed. Visit https://explorethedc.org/support-us/ to donate.
  • If you’re already shopping on Amazon or at your local Kroger, Target, Publix and more, these companies will give back to the museum at no cost to you.
    • Amazon: Shop using this link smile.amazon.com.
    • Kroger: Register your Kroger plus card at kroger.com/communityrewards. Our account number is PU532 and this registration must be renewed annually.
    • If you shop at Target or Publix the Planet Fundraiser app allows you to donate 2-3% of your total to the Discovery Center simply by taking a picture of your receipt. Download the app today and allow Target and Publix to give the donation on what you buy!

Stay informed about COVID-19 by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or by calling the COVID-19 Public Information Number: 877-857-2945 (Available 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. CST Daily).



EXPIRED UPDATE – 3/13/20, 5:15 p.m. CDT:

The Tennessee Department of Health (TNDH) has confirmed a positive test result for a case of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Rutherford County. Out of an abundance of caution and to assist with our community’s mitigation efforts, the Discovery Center has made the decision to close temporarily beginning Monday, March 16.

We anticipate remaining closed for two weeks, through Friday, March 27, but will continue to evaluate the situation and post updates as they’re available. During that time, all events and programs are effectively cancelled, which include but are not limited to:

  • March 18 – Homeschool Lab
  • March 20 – Parents’ Night Out
  • All previously scheduled field studies, birthday parties, facility rentals, mobile education, etc.

During the closure, we will undergo a deep cleaning of our facility.

The outdoor areas adjacent to the Discovery Center, including the Murfree Spring wetlands which is managed by the City of Murfreesboro, will remain open.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves in Tennessee, and if any other changes to our operations become necessary, we will keep the public informed at https://explorethedc.org/covid.

To contact a member of our staff regarding this closure, please email info@explorethedc.org. Staff will be available for phone calls beginning Monday, March 16, at (615) 890-2300.




The Discovery Center is committed to providing a safe and welcoming space for children and families.

We are following the recommendations of federal, state and local health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Tennessee Department of Health. With that in mind, we have taken the following steps for the health and safety of our visitors and the larger community:

  • Increasing the frequency of disinfecting hands-on elements of our exhibits and public spaces, including door handles, railings, countertops and other high-touch areas.
  • Highlighting signage within the museum that encourages visitors to wash their hands or use any of the hand sanitizer stations located throughout the facility.
  • Ensuring that any staff who feel ill should stay home, and establishing an internal communication plan for when staff resources must be shifted to cover employees on sick leave.
  • Encouraging our visitors to be mindful of our efforts to prevent the spread of respiratory disease (including the flu), which may mean social distancing or opting to visit on another day, if they are showing symptoms of illness.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation, including decisions by local health and school officials, in order to make informed decisions regarding our operations.

In the meantime, here’s what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Stay informed by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or by calling the COVID-19 Public Information Number: 877-857-2945 (Available 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. CST Daily).

Third annual STEAM Festival brings science to life across Tennessee

Variety of events and activities for all ages, Oct. 11-20

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Sept. 25, 2019—Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) will come to life at more than 100 events across the state during the 3rd annual Tennessee STEAM Festival, taking place Oct. 11‑20, 2019.

The Festival was founded by the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring and incorporates events at a wide range of museums, schools, community centers and other attractions. A complete listing of activities and locations is available at TNsteam.org.

“The Tennessee STEAM Festival continues to grow with an ever-expanding reach across our great state, providing Tennesseans exciting new ways to engage with science, technology, engineering, art and math,” said Discovery Center CEO Tara MacDougall. “The Festival is focused on promoting lifelong learning and on helping citizens better understand the world around them.

“We’re very appreciative of our sponsors and partners who have stepped up to support this critical endeavor at locations across the state. This Festival wouldn’t be possible without them,” MacDougall said.

Signature events during the Tennessee STEAM Festival include:

  • Storybook Science at the Discovery Center, Murfreesboro
  • Charlotte’s Web Activity and Movie Night at MTSU, Murfreesboro
  • Nashville Symphony Orchestra at Plaza Mariachi, Nashville
  • STEAM Carnival at West Town Mall, Knoxville
  • EarthCache Day at Discovery Park of America, Union City
  • Craft Fair STEAM Tent at Audubon Park, Memphis
  • Science in the Circus at Patterson Park Community Center, Murfreesboro
  • …and much more!

Major participating organizations include:

  • Discovery Center, Murfreesboro
  • Adventure Science Center, Nashville
  • Children’s Museum of Memphis
  • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville
  • Customs House Museum, Clarksville
  • Discovery Park of America, Union City
  • Fisk University, Nashville
  • Frist Art Museum, Nashville
  • Hands-On Discovery Center, Johnson City
  • Memphis Botanic Garden
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro
  • The Muse, Knoxville
  • Pink Palace, Memphis
  • Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville
  • Tennessee Craft Week
  • Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville

While most of the Festival’s events are free and open to the public, some are subject to admission charges and space limitations.

Connect with the Tennessee STEAM Festival on Facebook @STEAMFestival or on Twitter @STEAMFest.

Sponsored by Franke, the Tennessee Section of the American Chemical Society, FedEx, Dr. and Mrs. Scott Corlew, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Atmos Energy, Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and CedarStone Bank, in partnership with Science Festival Alliance, Science Alliance of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Craft Week and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

About the Discovery Center

The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring is a hands-on, environmental, cultural and educational museum located in the heart of Middle Tennessee. More than 120,000 children and families visit annually, exploring exhibits and participating in programs that promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) education. Adjacent to the Center is the protected Murfree Spring wetlands, a natural habitat for a variety of fish, amphibians and birds. Located at 502 S.E. Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN, the Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.explorethedc.org or call (615) 890-2300.

Engaging Curious Minds to Fuel the Future.

# # #


Jeff Krinks, Discovery Center
jkrinks [at] explorethedc.org

Fall Break Camp Is Right Around The Corner

It’s the middle of September, have you finalized your fall break plans? If not, we’ve got some great options for your Kindergarten – 4th grade kiddos. Set for October 1 – 5, fall break camp is a week of hands-on, interactive exploration. This year’s theme is meteorology and we’re pretty confident that Mother Nature will provide us with plenty of real-life examples between now and then. Rather than registering for the full camp at once, fall break sign ups can be made for individual days. Here’s a breakdown of our lesson plans:

  • Monday, A Day in the Clouds: Thunderbolts and lightning….very, very exciting! We’re exploring the water cycle and making pet clouds to take home.
  • Tuesday, Be a Meteorologist: Channel your inner Lelan Statom or Jim Cantore as you learn about the instruments meteorologists use and become a TV meteorologist for the afternoon.
  • Wednesday, Sun and Moon: Learn about the ways the sun and moon affect our daily weather despite being so far from Earth.
  • Thursday, Wind: There’s no doubt a summer breeze makes us feel fine, but we’re talking about the tools humans use to harness the power of wind.
  • Friday, Storms: We’re taking a look at the outspoken side of weather and learning about storm patterns that happen here at home and even taking a look at storms in space.

Registration for fall break camp is now open. Camp runs daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, but extended care is offered from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm for an additional $5 per day. The daily registration rate for non-members is $40 and members are $35. To reserve your spot today, click here.

The Search Is On

Even though we’ve still got a few strong months of 2018 left in the tank, our strategic sights are officially set on 2019. While Tara is working on an official review of the Advisory Board to determine which industries and skill sets are already represented, we’d like your help too. Aptly named the Advisory Board, this group is responsible for providing subject matter expertise and professional guidance to the Discovery Center with respect to exhibits, operations, programs, and community impact. The Advisory Board meets quarterly at the Discovery Center for a status update from staff and plan for upcoming projects. Additionally, some members may be asked to serve on a committee or leadership team, such as the STEAM Festival’s leadership council. In addition to volunteer service, we ask that Advisory Board members serve as advocates for Discovery Center’s mission and programs. This can be achieved by sharing our social media posts and telling your networks about our upcoming exhibits and events. If you know someone or have a colleague that would make a great addition to our Advisory Board, please send their contact information and a short bio to Hayley Richey at hrichey@explorethedc.org.

Think Outside…the Lunchbox

Check your mailboxes because information about our Outside the Lunchbox luncheon should be hitting them soon. Outside the Lunchbox is a brand new event we’re hosting on Thursday, November 1 at The Grove. This business and networking lunch will center on inclusion and innovation in the workplace. We’ve got three of our panelists confirmed and cannot wait to hear what they have to say. Marcus Whitney is a serial entrepreneur and known in this area for founding Briovation and Jumpstart Foundry. He is also a co-owner of the Nashville Soccer Club! Marcus will be joined on stage by Holli Montgomery and Teauna Upshaw of Schwan Cosmetics. Holli is the Managing Director at Schwan and also serves on the Chamber Board. She has a passion for working with local refugee populations and has helped many new residents find meaningful careers. Teauna is Senior Human Resources Manager at Schwan and author of Working Success.

In addition to being a learning and networking opportunity for the local business community, Outside the Lunchbox is a fundraising event that will support our Kids First outreach initiatives. Kids First provides funding in four primary areas of community support:

  • Field Study scholarships for students on free/reduced lunch
  • Free memberships for families receiving SNAP benefits
  • Free admission on cultural event days, including our upcoming Hispanic Heritage Day
  • Free events for special needs families

Sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals are available and begin at the $500 Creativity level and increase in terms of visibility and benefits like ad space in the event program and community sponsor recognition on our 2019 temporary exhibits. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Jennifer Neal at jneal@explorethedc.org.

Join Us For Hispanic Heritage Day Tomorrow

Ven al Discovery Center este Sábado para el Día de la Herencia Hispana! Don’t worry if your Spanish skills are a little rusty, we’d love to see you at Hispanic Heritage Day this Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. This annual event is one of our favorites and we’ve got several new activities this year.

  • In Creation Station we’ll be making papel picados and Frida Kahlo inspired clay pendants.
  • At 12:00 and 12:30 we’ll have dance performances by the Hispanic Family Foundation Folkloric Group.
  • In both the morning and afternoon, you can join us for a bilingual puppet show and a bilingual story time activity.
  • Ms. Emmie will also be leading guided walks through the Wetlands and talking about the groundbreaking work of Botanist Ynes Mexia.
  • We’ll also have rocket demonstrations on the patio inspired by the work of astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz.

Hispanic Heritage Day is a free event for the community thanks to ongoing support from the Nissan Foundation. We can’t wait to see you tomorrow–be sure to bring a friend!