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Megan's Museum connects kids with science

Megan's Museum connects kids with science

Megan Pratt is a research scientist with a Ph. D in neurobiology who wanted to share her love of science with children. Through the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), she started the "Science Saturday" hands-on learning experience.

Five years ago, popular demand led her to open a year-round adventure called the Pensacola M.E.S.S. Hall; also affectionately known as "Megan's Museum.

She gave us a tour of the latest exhibits. "If you do something and it's what you wanted it to do, then that's good and you've discovered something. You've managed to get the outcome you wanted."

Welcome to the Pensacola M.E.S.S. Hall. There are no right or wrong answers here. Megan Pratt said you don't get graded in this museum. After all, who knows what might lead to the next great discovery.

"I don't know fluid dynamics. And that kid isn't going to remember that fluid dynamics lesson. But, they're going to remember that there was a problem that they tried to fix and they managed to fix it."

The students are learning about fluid dynamics and all kinds of things. They're just learning in a way they can relate to and retain. In fact, at first glance it might all seem elementary.

"You're looking at and you're thinking, that's very childish stuff, right; markers, scissors, paper, tape. That's what you give to kindergartners. But, a lot of the stuff, the physics of what's going on, the science behind it, is actually, very, very complex."

The exhibits are ever changing. Megan gets ideas from museums around the country and then there are those middle-of-the-night ah-hah moments. Sometimes just things she's curious about herself.

"I'm a perpetual student. That's what I've decided I'm really good at; is learning things. So, give me something new to learn."

And she especially loves learning from the young people who visit the M.E.S.S. Hall. One of her joys is helping them to think and not be afraid to explore for themselves. Megan just gives them the tools to do that.

"But, some of the kids are like, 'But how do you want me to do it.' And I'm like, 'However, you want to do it.' That's the advantage of having "stuff " in your name. Math, Engineering, Science and "Stuff." So, we don't have to obey anybody's rules."

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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