“SPARK Museum is everything that a teacher could ask for,” says Kellie Goodman, a third-grade teacher at Alderwood Elementary School in Bellingham. “It’s an engaging place for my students to come and learn and inquire about the world.”
At SPARK, we often say that electricity sparks imagination. The simplest way to prove that point is to watch students walk through the Museum, pushing buttons, pulling levers and asking questions about how — and why — all of this cool stuff works.
Consider these quotes from recent visitors:
- “It inspired me. I want to be an inventor.” -Manuel, 9
- “It was amazing to see all of those things that they discovered.” -Ava, 9
- “I am wondering how all of the technology works. I am also wondering if they got shocked a couple of times when they were figuring out the Tesla coil? Was it safe?” -Kali, 8
- “I want to be an inventor now.” -Priya, 8
- “They inspired the class to make the world a better place.” -Martin, 9
Youth are the reason we’ve made ourselves an interactive museum, and it’s why we love to host field trips. Preserving the amazing inventions of the past is one thing, and it’s important. But using those old inventions to inspire the next generation of scientists? That’s even better.
“We want the young people, especially, to get the idea that the world hasn’t stopped inventing,” says volunteer docent Jim Lyons. “There’s lots of stuff still to come, and they’re the ones who are going to make it come.”
SPARK Museum is aligned with the 3D learning concept espoused by the Next Generation Science Standards, which aims to help youth build a more cohesive understanding of science.
Both of the field trip options at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention include a healthy amount of interactive fun and learning:
- The Powerhouse Electrical Show is designed to inspire a lifetime appreciation for science through a string of mind-blowing demonstrations all created and performed live and featuring early static electricity machines, vintage electronic musical instruments and recording devices, the discovery of electromagnets, the historic AC/DC war of the currents, and a variety of fantastic lightning machines, including The MegaZapper—one of the largest Tesla coils in the country. To know this science is to love it, and there is no better place to get it than the Powerhouse Electrical Show.
- The Gallery Tour is a guided museum experience designed for smaller groups able to maneuver through the Museum’s galleries. These tours can include demonstrations with early electrical devices, a visit to our static electricity lab, exploring Edison cylinder phonographs, trying one’s hand (literally!) at playing a vintage electronic musical instrument, and learning the history of telephone and telegraph technology. A portion of this tour will feature a Tesla coil demonstration. It can also include The MegaZapper.
“The bus ride home was abuzz,” said Goodman, the Alderwood teacher, after a recent field trip to SPARK. “Kids were asking questions and talking about what they saw—and a lot of the questions were around how each invention was solving a problem. It inspired a lot of them to become inventors; they’re going home and building things. The field trip really sparked their own inquiry in wanting and loving science.”