Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Explorit over the years: A resource for informal, fun science discovery

By
February 17, 2011 | Leave Comment

Although it has changed locations and names, Explorit Science Center has been creating opportunities for people to actively do science in the same personal, informal way since 1982.

Started by three women professionals — two who were biologists and educators, and one who was an architect — Explorit was created because the founders wanted to share their love for science.

The center’s style is unique because it encourages open-ended exploration where participants can manipulate science materials however they like. Explorit founder and current volunteer Anne Hance explains what makes the organization’s approach to science discovery different from other science centers.

“ ‘Hands-on’ can simply mean touching a button or moving a lever while at Explorit it still means, for example, the pouring of an unknown liquid from a beaker into a funnel as part of a relatively unguided investigation to answer a question,” said Hance.

The first visitors to get their hands on the Explorit style did it in a room in the Davis School District’s Administration Building, where the center was located until 1986.

The Davis Science Center (as it was called then) was entirely volunteer-run in its early years. Local scientists, educators, and others who were passionate about creating opportunities to do science generously contributed their time and skills.

Activities for learners at Explorit have always been simple and relevant to the everyday lives of people of all ages. They might illustrate complex concepts, but use low-tech supplies (that are often left unused or thrown away in many businesses or homes). A ‘homemade’ feel to the materials helps inspire participants to re-create the activities at home.

In 1982, Explorit officially became an independent nonprofit organization, and established a Board of Directors who began organizing major fundraising efforts to support science education programming.

Word of the science center spread beyond Davis, and after an inquiry from a Solano County school, Explorit began presenting traveling programs to bring science to school audiences who could not come to Explorit.

Not surprisingly, developing programs in Explorit’s style requires a lot of passion, time, and expertise. Because of this, the need for volunteers at Explorit is and will always be great.

Hance explains: “It takes more research and time to create things that allow someone to explore personally,” and it’s worth it because “self-guided discovery can fit different learning styles or personalities.”

Another aspect about Explorit is that generous financial contributions will always be vital for the development of its programs. In order to create meaningful, fun, and personal experiences for learners, staff must invest significant time in the planning and creation of each hands-on activity.

Continuing its relationship with the Davis School District, Explorit moved in 1986 to a large classroom at what is now called Willett Elementary. As teachers wanted to bring their classes regularly to visit the center, school programs became a bigger part of what Explorit did.

In 1992, Explorit changed its name from ‘The Davis Science Center’ to ‘EXPLORIT!’ and acquired a new home in Mace Ranch through a lease from the City of Davis.

‘EXPLORIT!’ eventually became ‘Explorit Science Center’ and the organization expanded in 2006 to a second building on 2nd Street to offer more exhibit space and accommodate more visitors.

Recently Explorit returned to its “roots” and is now entirely based out of the cozier Mace Ranch building, continuing to host programs and deliver traveling programs in 18 counties that serve 65,000-80,000 people each year.

The small Mace Ranch building is in line with the comfortable, intimate style Explorit has always had. Visits are available by reservation, and the center also offers birthday parties, special events, and summer camps.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6