Posted by : Wendy B Friday, 5 August 2011

Is there any scienticific research into how quickly a little brain 'splodes when over-stimulated? Because my kids could have been candidates yesterday when we decided to take them to the Ontario Science Centre.

We made the mistake of landing on the floor with KidSpark on it. We should have heard the warning signs (i.e. the shrill screams of excitement). It's about a hundred different stations of OMG!SCIENCE! with some much going on that it is impossible not to breed ADHD as the kids flit from one station to the next, attracted by all the sensory overloading shinies.

I have no idea how we convinced the girls to leave this section to view the much, much tamer Space exhibit.

The last time I'd been to the Science Centre, I'd taken my nephews to see The Science of Superheroes, which was a scientific look at Marvel Comics' biggest and best, explaining or correlating their powers and abilities with actual science.

This year, one of my favourite exhibits is Mindworks in the Communication Hall, a look at how the mind perceives things and how it can trick us. Mind over matter. Near this section was a paper creation studio where Panda patiently listened and waited for 40 minutes to make her very own piece of recycled paper.

Also and appropriately near this section was A Question of Truth.

What is your point of view? Everybody has one, including scientists. In A Question of Truth on Level 6, the exhibits challenge broadly-held beliefs about the differences between people and explore how those beliefs influence science.

•Compare different models of our Solar System and discover that there’s more than one correct way to look at the skies...
•Take a quiz to determine if your gender affects your point of view...
•Match faces to voices and explore how stereotypes affect our perceptions of other people...
•Touch actual acupuncture points on a life-size model and learn more about alternative medicine...
•Blend your face with a friend’s in a combination mirror and window, and explore the link between melanin, colour and racism...
•Step inside a box equal in size to the spaces that confined Africans on slave ships. Learn about the attitudes that led to conditions like these...
•Speak up on video to tell us what you think about the exhibition...
•And lots more!
This was an impressive exhibit that simply challenged our way of thinking when it comes to prejudice and discrimination. Simply put, there are very few differences between us on a scientific level, yet our minds determine otherwise and even devise "scientific" results based on these biases (such as the assumptions that criminals have certain ear shapes, or prostitutes have particular physical characteristics, etc). We wrote the girls names in Mayan and learned about the "civilized" world and its various inventions.

The exhibit included letters from visitors, many of which were very positive. One from New York proclaimed that no such exhibit would ever appear in their city.

Of course, there were the negative letters too, like the one admonishing the Science Centre for this "shameful display," believing it worthy only of a history museum, as slavery has nothing to do with science.

I'm guessing that person skipped the whole exhibit when they saw the word "RACISM" plastered everywhere. Very unfortunate :(

Hubby and Bunny went off to see The Hubble IMAX movie, which he said was very impressive and moving.

We had planned to leave earlier to avoid traffic, but it was impossible to do so. There were so many things to see and do (we missed the Human Body exhibit when exhaustion started to set in).

Might have to consider a membership...

3 Responses so far.

  1. Sorry, I was totally gonna read this until I realized you used the phrase

    "Gosh Darn"

  2. I was going to go with "gol darn" but I really didn't know how to spell "gol."

    But hey, if you want to remain ignorant about SCIENCE just because you don't like my word choices.........

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This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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