Field Trip Explainers

Reflections on life at Exploratorium

Celebrating 5 years at the Piers

by vabrenica


Chalk art by the very mysterious Karen Yu.

Photos by Danny Snyder.

On April 17, 2018 we celebrated our 5th year of opening the museum at our new location at Pier 15. Happy 5 years at the Piers, Exploratorium!

Explainer Recipes

by Julie C.

Allison has collected the culinary wisdom of Explainers. From herbivores to carnivores and complicated to simple, here is the result. Click through for all of our recipes or add your own in the comments!

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It’s You I Like

by Sylvia

In the spirit of the kindness and compassion of Mr. Rogers, today in training we reflected on ways to help our students feel valued and let them know that we care about what they think and feel.

Explainers shared ways to help kids feel special during their field trip…

  • As an Explainer I can call on the skills of each student and have them teach me something to build their confidence.
  • “Wow, did it! You’re amazing”
  • Give them my full attention: look, listen, and really hear what they are saying.
  • Tell him/her that his/her idea was interesting and encourage him/her to continue thinking about it.
  • Learn their name and use it.
  • Be kind, share thoughts. Reassure the student their opinion matters and they also matter.
  • When a kid has a good question or answer, ask their name, and repeat what they say to everyone.
  • Get down on the visitor’s level and try to experience things from their perspective.
  • Show them a magic trick to trick their friends for snacks and candy :)
  • Ask for their name and remember it.
  • Allow them to lead an investigation into a certain exhibit.
  • Share without projecting.
  • Validate questions.
  • Making eye contact with everyone at demo stations if it’s a small group. Giving kids enough time to finish their thoughts even if it take a while for them to say it.
  • Be happy you are our future heroes.
  • We will love you until you can love yourself because you are worth more than anything imaginable.
  • Ask about their interests and actually help them explore it.
  • Show a student a self-working magic trick, and walk them through doing it themselves. Or ask a student to explain their magic trick to you.
  • Learn something about them, like their name or interests.

Field Trip Explainer Job Posting

by salamandersal

Interested in becoming a field trip explainer?


by salamandersal

The whole crew checking out the Studio for Public Spaces exhibit prototypes. 

Explainer training the musical with Michael Bradke 

by salamandersal


Michael Bradtke’s website

Hopes for field trip groups

by vabrenica

To cap off our two-week training, last Friday we took some time to think about our hopes for our field trip groups.  Here is what everyone wrote.  Thanks Karen for typing all of them up!

I hope that field trips find themselves slowing… sloooowwing down and learn the value of moving at their own pace.

I hope that our field trip students enjoy themselves and ask questions!!!! 

I hope that our students are encouraged to have fun while learning and make connections between the things they saw and their daily lives.

I hope we empower our students to ask why and investigate on their own.

I hope that our field trip students will:

–       get excited about science

–       learn something new

–       be empowered in their ability to learn and access science

–       have an awesome experience

–       be inspired to explore the world in a new way

–       come back to Explo again

I hope that our field trip students find something surprising and cool.

I hope our visitors learn how to question their environment and not accept things at face value.

My overall hope for the kids who visit is to get them to understand that learning doesn’t have to be boring.

I would like to feel confident, teach and learn as much as possible with kids and enjoy what they enjoy. 

I hope that the students on FTs leave feeling empowered in some sort of way – to explore a subject or idea through a new approach or to feel more confident in their learning process.

I hope someone on a field trip comes back on their own time, & tries to find me so they can learn and explore more.

I hope our field trip visitors have the opportunity to explore something that they are interested in personally.

I hope that students leave the Exploratorium curious and excited about the world around them. Hopefully with a different perspective on the world that they can apply to their life. 

I hope our visitors gain a shift in perspective and widen their definitions of science.

I hope visitors come and have a great time and hopefully learn something in the process.

I hope that vistiors learn and grow in ways unimaginable to them and that they walk away from the museum with new ways of thinking and observing.

To have so much fun they lose track of time. They smile, they laugh, they wonder.

I hope the field trip students have a memorable experience & they get to explore their questions without fear.

I hope to improve the way I ask questions in order to facilitate learning more effective for visitors.

I hope that field trip students will be able to interact with things like what they learn in class, and make them real and tangible through that interaction. 

Sense of wonder, possibility, curiosity, discovery.

Hopes for students: they find something cool in something they’ve seen 10,000x before IRL but never quite noticed.

Field trip goals: I want kids to enjoy themselves and their time here. I want them to come away from the museum with an experience overall.

I would like the kids to come here and have whatever experience they want. If it’s good, then great but if it’s bad then that’s great too as long as they take something away that they can talk about or want to explore more outside of the Explo.

[insert SE radio name here]

by vabrenica

The new Explainer year has come upon us! I’m really excited to get to know the brand new Explainers and have them get to know my fellow senior Explainers, Marie and Karen.

Marie working on some eyes for a training.

Karen attempting to resuscitate this plant in the SE office. #miracleworker

Finding Balance

by rob moss wilson

Video (1)

First I support the weight of this knobby stick with two fingers on either side. Then, slowly, I exert equal force to make my two fingers touch. First one finger carries the entire weight of the stick, but friction increases and that finger will soon get stuck. Immediately the other finger begins to carry the load. This happens back and forth a few times until both fingers touch and voila the stick is balanced. So remember, when confronted with an obstacle there is another side of yourself that is already carrying the load. With the right intention balance is inevitable, so just be patient.

Hyperbolic Slot

by rob moss wilson

hyperbolicslot (2)

Things in motion often defy our static, two dimensional expectations and ‘objective’ assessments often preclude our ability to adapt and transform in response to a given situation. A straight and rigid stick, when held at an angle and pushed around a circular axis, glides effortlessly through a curved slot.