The following blog was written by ECHO's Executive Director Phelan Fretz. He is on a summer sabbatical from ECHO and is taking the time...

Intensive Lab Experiences in Milwaukee

6 Comments
The following blog was written by ECHO's Executive Director Phelan Fretz. He is on a summer sabbatical from ECHO and is taking the time to explore the country. He promised to send us "nuggets of learning" from the field, and this is the second installment.


Intensive Lab Experiences in Milwaukee
Phelan R Fretz, Ph. D.


Pursuing golden examples to inform ECHO's future is part of my sabbatical this summer. Last fall, ECHO was invited to join the Great Lakes Network, a partnership of eight similar institutions from Quebec to Duluth, Minnesota aiming to better interpret the shared waters that drain into the St. Lawrence River and in ECHO's case, Lake Champlain. Discovery World in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, stood out as an innovator in how they engage their guests. After meeting Discovery World's Education Coordinator Kristen Smith at the fall Network meeting, I put them on my short list to visit; they did not disappoint.


Upon arrival at Milwaukee's waterfront, I was heartily welcomed at the front door with a big hug from Kristen. She introduced their executive director Joel Brennan. He shared, "we opened our 120,000 sq ft, $95 million facility in 2007.  Of all the strategies we employ to engage our 300,000 annual guests, our labs have the greatest impact." "Funny you should say that", I inject, "for that is just the reason I am here today."  


All the labs are on the lower level, below the extensive, more traditional science center exhibits on the two floors above. We first
Design It Lab "Fashion Accessories"
enter the Kohl's Design-it Lab where a class of upper elementary girls are designing and building fashion accessories. "The emphasis is on the process - design it, make it, test it, and revise," Kristen said, "The goal is to go through ta real design process, from start to finish."



LEGO Lab at Discovery World
Next door, Kristen introduced me to the Thirst Lab by indicating, "With a real brewery set-up, and one of the region's only female brewers, we have built a whole new interest from women."  She continues, "the lab is also the platform for all of our culinary, forensic and kitchen chemistry classes."  Further down the hall are labs focused on broadcast journalism, silk screening, technology (including a LEGO FIRST league) and 3D art. Kristen summarized their goal and use, "During the week, all the labs are reserved for groups such as school classes, summer camps and Girl Scouts. On weekends, the labs are open to the public." And proudly she added, "The topics change monthly and never repeat! We would rather engage someone for a whole week rather for a single afternoon."

The more traditional exhibits upstairs should also be noted.  A whole section is committed to energy education, along with a massive model of the Great Lakes system including real running water and a complete overview of what it takes to clean the water you flush down the toilet.  Outside, is the three-mast tall ship, the Denis Sullivan, that does 3-hour to week-long sailing tours of Lake Michigan.

Model of the Great Lakes water system
Sailing vessel, Denis Sullivan
The strategies at Discovery World are of particular interest to ECHO, especially those employed in the labs. While Kristen would be the first to say, "The labs are resource intensive, but they provide a deeply engaging platform to educate guests in a wide variety of topics." 
KOHL's sponsored Design-It Lab

Without a changing exhibit hall like ECHO's, Discovery World uses the ever-changing labs to continue to create a reason to return. The labs have also enabled the building of strong partnerships with local companies - linking the activity of the company to innovation, technology and water quality.  For example, Kohls Department Store has funded the Design-It Lab the past few years with over $4 million - focusing on building the community's skills in continual innovation, a strategy they employ in their business.  

The journey continues and I look forward to sharing the next bit of "learning on the road".

To be continued....




You may also like

6 comments:

  1. I am aiming to be a chemist, and in order for me to reach there, I must focus on my chemistry. For that, I think your labs would be a great step for me to achieve my aim. I will opt for a platform where I could buy essay service in Philadelphia to keep up with other subjects.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next! Please visit my web site unipac.net. Best Buy Scissors Lift and Scissors Lift Price In Singapore service provider.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks admin for published a very informative post. Great work Amazing post worth my time and i enjoyed reading it thankk you so much you

    Stream2watch

    ReplyDelete
  4. Always be ready for any health problems at any time, get First Aid Certificate Training in Sunshine Coast. Always be helpful to all the people near you with any small health-related issues. Now, do a First aid Training Course from Sunshine Coast.
    first aid course sunshine coast
    sunshine coast first aid

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cet essuie-verre laissera la vaisselle de votre hôtel ou de votre restaurant brillante en quelques secondes. Très absorbant et souple, il permet un résultat rapide et efficace tout en évitant d’avoir à le changer trop rapidement. Si vous avez de grandes quantités de vaisselle à essuyer chaque jour, cet essuie-verre deviendra votre allié.

    Facile d’entretien, vous ne pourrez plus vous passer de cet essuie-verre. Ses différents coloris vous permettent de créer un code couleur en fonction de la vaisselle que vous avez à essuyer L'essuie-verre grande absorption

    ReplyDelete

Older Posts

Followers