MosSE in Stevensville


Hello from Stevensville! We are having such a great time in the Bitterroot Valley this week! Thanks to the support from the Jane S. Heman Foundation, spectrUM brought our Motion exhibit to Stevensville schools and the students (and teachers) could not be more excited! On Tuesday, the elementary school kids learned about slow motion and fast motion, how planes fly, and wheels spin. They even spun around themselves on our lazy Susan and spinning stool.

On Wednesday, the middle schoolers braved the wind and rain to join us while we explored properties of lift, gravity, and how spin makes things more stable. Thursday we had the pleasure of being in the band room with lots of enthusiastic band kids. High schoolers joined us all day long to delve into Newton’s 3 laws, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and Bernoulli’s principle. Family Science Night on Thursday evening was a blast with tons of family enjoying out flight simulator, flying cups, and radar magnets. We even got to hear some great band music from the band concert!  In total, we saw over 765 students and over 90 adults.  Thanks so much for having us, we look forward to coming back to Stevensville next year!


Moving on to Corvallis

There wasn’t a dull moment in the three days we spent in Corvallis, MT. We set up the Motion exhibit in Corvallis High School’s library and it was a blast being right in the middle of the school. Everyone came to visit us and check out the cool science learning toys, from the school secretaries to the custodian. Though we were only originally scheduled to work with grades 4-9, the buzz spread, and soon we got to share our exciting science with the bulk of the high school students.

As part of a grant from the Jane S. Heman Foundation, spectrUM will bring awesome science exhibits to the Bitterroot Valley for the next three years. Corvallis is one of the towns that we get to visit because of the program, and they made the most of our time in the school. We really appreciated the enthusiasm that all of the students brought to the material, from elementary through high school. While the fourth graders were enamored with the Gravity Well and Turntable, a group of juniors and seniors successfully assembled the puzzle pieces into a cube and crafted incredibly creative flying machines out of paper cups and masking tape.

When the week ended and it was time to pack up, we had served over 600 students!  We had so many volunteer helpers and tons of students expressed how excited they were about the exhibit. Thanks to the Corvallis Devils and the many future scientists we met there! We hope to see you at the museum in Missoula!

Motion in Lolo


The Turntable is a huge hit!

In early November we spent a fun week in Lolo where we got to explore motion with students from kindergarten through 8th grade. The students were excited to learn about concepts like flight, spin, magnetism, and momentum. They enjoyed letting the Bernoulli Blower mess up their hair while suspending balls over the flow of air, magically hovering in the low pressure. We talked about Sir Isaac Newton and Einstein, played with tops, let angular momentum spin us around, and constructed paper cup helicopters.

The 515 students we worked with learned a lot about how spin lends to stability and were even showing us some new tricks when it came to the Turntable and Flying Cups. The Missoulian even sent a reporter to see what we were up to. Everyone at Lolo School helped to make Family Science Night a success, with families dropping in before and after their parent-teacher conferences. We had record turnouts, with 264 people attending! Kids were teaching their parents and grownups all of the cool science that they had learned throughout the week.


Thanks to everyone in Lolo, and thank you to the Jane S. Heman Foundation for sponsoring this visit. We can’t wait to come back again next year!

MosSE Moves to Charlo

Charlo Best 1

What an amazing day at Charlo Elementary School. We started off with the little ones, who could not control their excitement over our Best in Show exhibit. We dissected lots of brains and eye balls, and they used our awesome new yellow goggles to look at our flies with glowing brains. We set up our Big Sky Big Brain right inside the doorway so students got to walk through the brain tunnel as they came into the exhibit. They explored to find any injuries to the Big Brain, they diagnosed what was giving our nose the sniffles, and put organs back in our friend Anna-Body. Our Motion pieces are always a hit, with students exploring how torque from a bicycle wheel can turn them and talking about Coriolis effect using our Turn Table. As usual, a big favorite was learning about orbits by sending lots of pennies and marbles down the Gravity Well.

Charlo Best 2Family science night was a blast with over 180 people! Kids of all ages spent time enjoying and learning about so many aspects of science, and even got to talk to our friend, Steph Gillin, a wildlife biologist on the Flathead Reservation. She brought lots of pelts and skulls, and was showing off her cool new app about wildlife on the Reservation. In addition to the 180 people at Family Science Night, we had 247 people during day field trips, totaling 445 people in one day.

Charlo Best 3Even though it was a quick day, we really enjoyed being in Charlo and sharing our awesome Best in Show exhibit. Thanks to Ginger and her family for all their help, and to the whole Charlo community for welcoming us to your school. And thank you to the Charlo School 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Big Sky Brain Project for powering this tour stop.

Charlo Best 5

Our Best in Fort Benton

Ft Benton 1

We had such a wonderful visit to Fort Benton last week. Anna and the Arganbright family were so great to help us set up the exhibit and make sure we had everything we needed while we were there. We were lucky to be in Fort Benton Elementary during spirit week so we saw wacky mismatched outfits, lots of amazing nerds, and we may or may not have seen some spies sneaking around on Wednesday.
Ft Benton 2We got to see students from Fort Benton, Geraldine, and Highwood Schools during our three days in Fort Benton. Our Best In Show exhibit was a huge hit, especially with our Big Sky Big Brain that students ran through. Unfortunately, our giant nose had a bad case of the sniffles, but the students did a fantastic job diagnosing what was causing the sniffles, so I’m sure the nose will feel better in no time.
Ft Benton 3

Our Best in Show exhibit gave us a chance to talk about all of the amazing science jobs out there, and the students did some great brainstorming about careers. In total, we reached 469 people, including 128 at the Family Science Night. There were lots of farm families, so we talked about the importance of science in farming, analyzing the soil, genetics in raising cattle, and weather patterns.
Ft Benton 4Alex and I also got to do some fun extracurricular activities. Anna took us kayaking on the river, we walked across the bridge at night and checked out the full moon, and we even stopped by Miss Kayla’s dance class and saw the “Grinch Wrap.” All in all, it was an amazing trip to Fort Benton, we got to meet so many great people, stayed in a wonderful home, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing our Best in Show exhibit.  Thank you to the Chouteau County PEAK Program for powering this tour stop.

MosSE Concludes Autumn 2015 Tour in Sidney


We had so much fun with the awesome students and staff in Sidney this week. From the very first day, when Mrs. Nobles helped us unload our Brain exhibit into the High School multi-purpose room, everyone in Sidney was warm, helpful, and enthusiastic. Monday we got to hang out with the 5th and 6th graders, along with some great high school students. We saw the high school’s Anatomy & Physiology classes, a Psychology class (who were sculpting their own brains in class!), and lots of other science classes joined in as we learned about the brain.  We worked with 550 students through field trips over our two day visit.


Family Science Night was a blast, with about 100 kids of all ages, as well as some very excited parents and teachers. They checked out our amazing flies, felt the brains and eye balls, and shot some hoops with the crazy goggles on. The teachers even had some cool ideas for new traveling exhibits.  Thank you to the teachers, students, and families of Sidney, for having us to your community.  And a big thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for sponsoring this tour stop.


Tuesday we spent all day with different classes of 7th graders, as well as some more high school science classes. We also met some middle schoolers in the science fair class who told us about their amazing experiments and showed off their knowledge of the brain. It’s always so fun to see students of different ages interacting and learning from each other and the exhibit. Overall, we reached 642 students. Sidney was a great final stop on our tour, and we can’t wait to see them next time. Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.

Exploring the Brain in Wolf Point


Rachael and I had a blast meeting so many kids in Wolf Point. We spent two days there with our Circus of Science Brain exhibit. Kids from the elementary, middle, and high school played the brain games and watched dissections. We even had some preschool classes. In one day we got to meet over 400 kids and family members between school classes and Family Science Night! It was amazing to see how enthusiastic everyone was and the kids listened well and asked great questions about how the brain and eyeball function.

We had a great host, principal Ms. Hanks, who put us up in her house and made us feel so welcome. Everyone at the school was excited to bring their students to check out the exhibit. We even got to work with the health classes and talk about things like brain damage and why helmet use is so important.


The kids and staff were amazing and we got some great feedback about the exhibit from the teachers and students. One science teacher, Ms. Romo, had the students record one thing they learned from the exhibit as their exit ticket and then we read it. Ms. McGill’s 8th grade classes wrote thank you cards about the exhibit. It was a treat to be able to read these and find out what the kids enjoyed the most.  In total, we reached 50 community members at Family Science Nights and an astonishing 609 students.  Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.


Unfortunately, we were enjoying ourselves so much, it was suddenly once again time to move on to a new school. The Fort Peck reservation was beautiful and we were treated to an amazing sunrise while leaving town for our next stop in Sidney.


MosSE Moves to Circle


After Lodge Grass, Rachael and I hit the road for Circle, MT. Over the two days that we spent at Redwater School we were made to feel so at home. We got to hang out with kids of all ages as we showed off how cool the brain is. Our brain exhibit was a big hit, with dissections, brain games and our Visual Rebound basketball hoop.


At our first stop in Lodge Grass we featured our Motion exhibit, but from here on out we will be playing with the Brain exhibit. In the Brain exhibit, we learn all about what the different lobes of the brain do, how adaptable our brain is, and how our brain can get messed up. We talk about the senses and how we get dizzy, and even look at flies with glowing brains. We love this exhibit because it teaches you about yourself.


The principal, Mr. Widhalm, was enthusiastic and friendly. He and the rest of the staff were great about promoting Family Science Night. It was fun to be able to meet so many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends and we were more than a little sad to leave. In Circle, we reached 146 students and 109 members of the community at Family Science Night.  The Wildcats were awesome scientists and Rachael and I hope to visit again soon.  Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.

MosSE Kicks off Autumn 2015 Tour in Lodge Grass


Thursday was spent with the High School and Junior High students, who quickly realized how fun physics can be! We explored Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion, as well as different types of energy. The students especially loved the Gravity Well, where Alex explained Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. They spent time exploring the Coriolis effect at the Turn Table, and got a huge kick out of the suspended balls at the Bernoulli Blower.


During Family Science Night, we had 104 guests of all ages exploring “Motion.” Even the parents got involved with the Radar Magnets, and took a spin on the Lazy Susan. The kids did a great job taking turns on the Flight Simulator, and balanced our balancing eagle on their noses and ears.


On Friday, the elementary school kids had a great time showing each other what they had learned the night before at Family Science Night, as well at exploring the concepts of gravity and planets orbiting the sun. Overall, we reached 284 students. The school and community of Lodge Grass, and especially our host, Heather, were so incredibly welcoming and friendly to us during our stay, it was such a treat to be there. Thank you to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation for powering this tour stop.

Destination, Dixon!

Dixon Elementary School

Dixon Elementary School

And so we end 2015’s Spring Tour with an amazing trip to Dixon, home to a K-8 school of 51 students this year. We were lucky enough to meet just about all of them (minus a few who were absent)! That means 54 students and adults visited throughout the school day. All the students were eager to explore their gym-turned-museum, and many loved it so much they came back for more fun during Family Science Night.


The Motion exhibit is probably MosSE’s most interactive. With Motion we experience spin and aerodynamics in various ways, from keeping a toy top spinning on a table to spinning our own bodies at the Lazy Susan Station. We have students hypothesize and test ideas like, “Which top will spin the longest, and why?” In the realm of aerodynamics, students can test their skills with the Flight Simulator and make their own designs at Flying Cups.

Look at all the different tops!

Look at all the different tops!


Waiting in line at the ever-popular

Waiting in line at the ever-popular Flight Simulator.

Thank you to the faculty and staff of Dixon for hosting us and encouraging a passion for science to your students. We are also grateful to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation for powering this tour stop.

Sincerely, Nicholas and Sarah