STEM, Art and Culture – Oh My!


What do you get when you combine 4.5 acres of wooded area, an outdoor music center and hands-on activities that promote STEM?  One of our community partners located in Topeka, Kansas – The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center!

This Community Partner is great for Daisy-Cadette Girl Scouts and offers a unique combination of wild and manicured outdoor areas as well as indoor science and art zones.  Kids can learn and play in outdoor obstacle courses, clubhouses and explore natural wildlife like the tall prairie grass on-site. Indoors – everything is ready for interactive fun! The Discovery Center is a wonderful partner for troops because it houses unique resources thanks to large support from the community.

“Our community partners are very giving and receptive to what our mission is.  90% of the exhibits out here were done in-kind,” Margaret Hennessey Springe, Director of Education at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center said. “This means we are able to offer innovative play areas designed by some the best organizations and companies in Kansas.”

While the Discovery Center has a wide range of programs to choose from, engineering has become a focus of their programming. If you’re looking for STEM activities, you’ll want to visit!  Engineering programs include a Seismic Design program and a Geodesic Dome program that teach Girl Scouts about “the strength of shapes and they actually built a large scale geodesic dome they could then sleep in, out of just paper rods.  [That] was really fun for girls – very hands on,” said Hennessey Springe. But it’s not just all art and science – the Discovery Center is branching out to new, cultural programming!Children's China

Are you ready to travel to China?  Don’t worry – you don’t need a passport for this trip! Check out the upcoming Snore & Explore: Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character & Confucius in November (Daisy & Brownie) or December (Junior & Cadette) 2015.  We got a sneak peek at the structures currently being built for this event and WOW – they look amazing!

Part of the facility is being converted into a life-size getaway for Girl Scouts to see what it’s like to be a child in China today!  They’ll learn about the Lunar New Year, participate in a dragon parade, interact with a Cultural Ambassador, write using key Chinese Characters and learn about printmaking. There are even silk worms currently being raised at the facility to teach participants about the process of creating silk!  What an exciting event for our Girl Scouts.

If your troop is looking for science related activities, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center offers private Girl Scout Snore & Explores in a variety of topics.  While they require a minimum of 30 participants, these events can be scheduled at a time that works for your troop (or a couple of troops) and can be designed based on your troop’s unique needs!  Current Snore & Explores focus on water conservation (Water, Water Everywhere), forensics (CSI – Who Dunnit?) and ecology (Do The Dome!). Girl Scouts can even complete badge requirements!  Let imaginations soar as they create mini rain showers, learn how to lift fingerprints, explore evidence or work in teams to build a dome!

2014_GS_Snore&explore Domes

Looking for program that isn’t an overnight adventure?  Shorter, 1 ½ hour programs help Girl Scouts progress toward their Home Scientist and Inventor Badges by working in the KCDC’s STEAM Lab!  Here, they can look at electricity, make a mess with science experiments and find out what it takes to invent a new phone!

As a Community Partner, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center aims to connect leaders and troops to unique activities that help girls excel.

“Everything we do is very hands-on and we really try and think outside-the-box in terms of activities because we don’t want to imitate what a troop leader can do in an evening meeting.  We have different resources and partners and different skills, so I want us to provide things leaders can’t do on their own,”  Hennessey Springe said.

What a great resource for troop leaders and parents!  We love this community partner and their dedication to education, science, art and culture. If you’ve had a day out at this facility, please leave us a comment below and let us know how great your trip was!

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