How appropriate that the New York Hall of Science in Corona is now offering, among many online activities, one called “Transmissions: Gone Viral,” giving participants a chance to get involved in the investigation of a mysterious virus.
The activities, available even as the museum’s doors remain temporarily closed because of the pandemic, should prove of interest to people of all ages.
Some of the activities, as explained by Brian Avenius, NYSCI’s chief marketing and business development officer, are geared toward younger children, with parent supervision recommended. We took a look at a few of those in the Chronicle last week.
Now, in Part II of this series, we highlight several of the activities that should engage individuals preferring to work independently. All are posted at nysci.org.
“Transmissions” is a digital, interactive comic book that follows a group of kids who investigate a virus that plagues humans as well as animals. It is particularly recommended for youngsters aged 10 to 14.
The museum’s site offers simple instructions on how to navigate: Flip through the pages using your mouse or arrow keys; clicking on interactive prompts throughout the book will unlock special bonus content.
The comic is divided into various chapters. The first, entitled “Curious Kids,” introduces the characters, a group of youngsters facing their last “science nerd” summer adventure. Their discovery of a dead bird sets the action in motion.
The characters, with names like Rani, Eduardo and Zip, are a diverse group, representing a cross-section of society.
An interesting aspect of the activity is a special glossary that is provided, defining words that appear in the text: antibodies, microbes, pathologist and more. So, in addition to being diverting, it’s also a learning experience — a vital theme in just about all NYSCI offers, online and on-site.
Another self-directed activity is known as “The Pack,” an open-world game set in a future world called Algos, where healthy eco-systems have faltered, water and food are scarce, and it’s up to you and your pack to help fix the environment.
Recommended for people of all ages but particularly appropriate for middle school students, this puzzle and survival game, inspired by the museum’s groundbreaking “Connected Worlds” exhibit, teaches about helping to restore the world to an ecologically balanced state. Participants discover that the only way to do so is to replenish water sources and find varied seeds that are scattered all over the world.
You won’t be able to do it alone, so you and a pack of “helpful creatures” set out on an algorithmic adventure across Algos. As you advance, you must create increasingly complex algorithms that allow you to do new things.
For tips and tricks on how to play, you may download the official NYSCI guide to help you.
Perhaps most involving of all is “Playground Physics,” an app to help explore the physics of everyday life. In this activity, you will discover and examine the physics in your own life and your own movements.
Participants are asked to record a video of themselves or their friends — or any form of motion — and to tap points along the way to trace a path of action, thereby discovering the motion, forces and energy involved.
Seen as ideal for middle and high school students, the activity can make Newton’s laws of motion come alive, integrating core ideas, scientific practices and cross-cutting concepts.
It’s an informal program backed by evidence that blends physical play with virtual activities.
Those who take part in any of these or the many other activities available are asked to share their experiences by tagging @nysci on social media. Further information is provided at nysci.org.
Find more home activities from NYSCI in last week’s Part I story, available at qchron.com.