The soap bubble exhibit at the SciTech Center in Aurora, Ill., demonstrates surface tension dynamics and encourages children to experiment.
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Informal Science Education (ISE) program promotes quality science education in many out-of-school settings. Support for the nation's museums and science centers, like the SciTech Center is one of ISE's major funding areas.
The country has over 300 hands-on science centers and museums, the majority of which opened during the past 20 years. These centers help children learn about science and build their interest in exploration of the world around them. Some of the better known include San Francisco's Exploratorium, the New York Hall of Science and the Museum of Science in Boston.
Over 100 million people visit U.S. science centers and museums annually, according to the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), a nonprofit organization. NSF's investment is a catalyst for quality exhibits and programs that excite youngsters, their teachers and families. The ASTC is one of several associations that works with NSF to promote informal education through the creation and expansion of science centers, and by providing administrative and technical support.
Credit: Photo of SciTech Center, Aurora, Ill., by the Beacon News