WUOMFM

Dry ice and slime: Michigan Science Center brings virtual, hands-on experiments to classrooms

Nov 6, 2017

The Next Idea

If you're a certain age, you probably remember watching educational films in science class on a noisy projector.

Forty of 50 years ago, this was as interactive as it got:

Fast forward to today, to a new program from the Michigan Science Center in Detroit that brings interactive, hands-on science demonstrations to classrooms all over the state, remotely.

Jeanane Charara used to be a classroom teacher, but these days she's the distance learning coordinator at the Michigan Science Center. She's also the main presenter for the new ECHO program, and apparently makes a pretty impressive fire tornado as well.

"ECHO," Charara said, stands for "engaging in collaborative hands-on learning."

"What we do is we run distance learning programs from the Michigan Science Center so you can experience learning, fun in a highly interactive way without leaving your classroom or having to come to the science center," she said.

Charara said the program sends supplies to classrooms so kids get hands-on experience along with the on-screen lesson.

"It's different for kids because a lot of times they don't get to interact with videos that they watch on YouTube or things the teacher pulls up," Charara said. "So what's cool about this is you can actually talk to the person on screen. Once they catch wind of that – that I’m actually talking back and answering their questions, they get super excited.”

Listen below for the full conversation.


The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook, or let us know your Next Idea here.

(Subscribe to The Next Idea podcast on iTunes, or with this RSS link.)