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Many of you may have already read about my son’s excitement and interest toward mathematics - he also loves visiting the Finnish Science Centre Heureka near the Helsinki airport. The Science Centre’s roots are with Helsinki University and it’s scientists. The museum is built for all ages, but it is geared toward school age children. The curators of the museum have succeeded phenomenally well in my opinion, the museum is such an engaging place that we can easily spend hours there. The best part of the place is the interactiveness, kids can touch, test, discover, try again and learn by doing. This is the reason why my son loves the museum, he is not the type you would be content to just watch, he needs to get down and dirty with the experiments.
The hit of the most recent visit was the chemistry lab. Kids get lab coats, instructions on a paper and freedom to conduct the chemistry experiment by themselves.
This time it involved mixing water, liquid soap, citric acid and a few other ingredients in order to achieve a chemical reaction in which soap foam was created. My son and his friend got so excited that they recreated the experiment many times AND also started to experiment with the ingredients to see what happens if they didn’t follow the instructions, but made their own concoctions instead. The museum supervisor was completely fine with this and talked with boys about why a particular mixture didn’t create foam or why something else happened. This was really cool! As a rule abiding mom, my first reaction was to stop the boys and ask them only to follow the instructions. But this is the cool thing about Heureka, they encourage phenomena based learning, one of the cornerstones of Finnish education.
In the below experiment, the boys had to work their muscles and get a heavy ball up the metal pole. Once they got it up (or half way), they could see from the meter on the wall, how much electricity was created by the force of the ball coming down. As they got it all the way up, they got enough electricity to turn on a sauna stove.
For the fearless ones, the Centre has a trapeze biking. The bike has a counter weight, but it took some courage from the boys to try this one! It required concentration to bike to the other end, eventhugh the bike was very stable. Apparently, only once it has gone off tracks; this happened when a father started to show off tricks to his own kids!
The Science Centre Heureka has also a Planetarium with shows, and they organize workshops for school groups and summer camp participants. The Science Centre is continuously involved in international and national learning and teaching development projects. In the projects, methods, practical tools and guidelines are created for teaching multidisciplinary topics.
If you ever visit Finland and the Helsinki region, I strongly recommend you to go to Heureka Science Centre, with or without kids :).
Photo credit Heureka
I am Inkeri Mentzoni, the founder of Kidemaa. I am a working mother of 8 year old son and we live in Helsinki.
I lived 15 years in the United States of America, but I returned to Finland four years ago in order to provide Finnish childhood to my son. I love working and I am grateful that the Finnish lifestyle allows me to pursue my professional goals and be an active mom at the same time. My favourite part of Helsinki: the fact that you can walk almost everywhere and nature is always around you.