Field Trip Explainers

Reflections on life at Exploratorium

Square Wheel

by rob moss wilson

squarewheel (3)

Everyone tries to ensure the ground they walk on is smooth and flat. Such efforts are futile and idealistic. Try this: change your shape to accommodate the irregular surface. As long as your center of gravity remain level, movement will be frictionless and graceful.



Bird in a Cage

by Julie C.

A few weeks ago, we drew our own versions of the Bird in a Cage illusion. The trick to seeing the illusion is to stare at the dot in the middle of the image…keep staring…until the image disappears…or does it?

Try these three examples:


The afterimage of these drawings should appear when the drawings disappear. You can draw your own version, too.

Kittens visit the Exploratorium!

by lapinehorizon

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Clouds from the Observatory Deck

by lapinehorizon

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Slow Exposure Camera Exhibit

by lapinehorizon

These chilling photos were taken with one of the exhibits in the corridor near the central gallery. I forget its real name, but it lets you take a photo of yourself over a full second, letting you make unearthly illusions out of your blurred results.

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Explo Photos

by lapinehorizon

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Animation Station

by lapinehorizon

A cute little animation we did a few months ago.

Sounds of the Pentaphone Room

by lapinehorizon

One of our most popular sound exhibits, the Pentaphone Room. Where you can just bang randomly on pieces of wood and metal and get beautiful songs. Here’s a sample of some people playing:

Parody Explainer Song!

by lapinehorizon

You heard of the song “Bad Looks Good on You” by 38 Special? Well this is “Orange Vest Looks Good on You” all about Explainers!!!! Hahahahaha. Enjoy!

Morning you’re doing those orientations
Then practicing a jump in shadow box
Oh yeah man
When lunchtime comes, you’re on the south apron
Watching how high the tide has gone

We’re like a little bit of carnival sideshow, and a lot of genuine curiosity
With the field trips comin, we sketch the plankton
Check that out now
You got your magic tricks, dry ice too
And some say we got no rules, baby
orange vest looks good on you
That’s what I say
Man it looks good on you
Ooh yeah

Not cuttin that cow eye for the first time
Noo no
We sure do love to magnify
And where do you sit’s about to get real deep
We’re doing those dark-box rickshaw rides

We’re like a little bit of summer camp councilor, and a genuine individuality
You’re kidding me
With the people thinking we’re all in highschool
Talking bout lightbulbs and perception too, keep doin’ the things you do
Baby, orange vest looks good on you
Sure good on you

All along the fifteenth pier, there, unexpected happens here
A place where there is outdoor cart, fog bridge, and the big tree
The gyroid is a crazy time, and creepy ghosts are in your eyes
At botany we have a millipede, yeah

We got a little bit of bay area hippie, and a lot of genuine creativity
In the connectors or the studio tinkering
Getting into space-bears and preschools, embryos and echo tube
Baby, orange vest looks good on you

Baby, that looks good on you

Engaged in Tinkering

by Julie C.

This week the Field Trip Explainers had a training in the Tinkering Studio. Ryan and Lianna from Tinkering talked about visitor engagement. They see engagement as a mix of motivation, interest, and spending time with an activity. After a discussion we broke into small groups. Our group discussed (and drew) how we engage visitors around the Circuit Board activity in the Tinkering Studio.



Weird Circuits

Vic likes to show visitors all the weird and wacky things available to play and work with at Tinkering. This is an illustration of a spring switch. There’s a small metal spring inside of a larger metal spring (a slinky). When they wiggle, they touch, and complete a circuit. Then the component they’re wired to turns on.



Engaging Projects

Kelly Ann models engagement by working on a project. She keeps one eye open for visitors. When the visitor approaches or looks interested she shows them what she’s doing. Sometimes they’ll work on it together. Sometimes she’ll pass the project on to them to complete.



Challenging Circuits

Salene sets up a challenge for visitors. One of our trickiest components is the seven-segment-display. It’s the same type of digital number that you see on a microwave. It looks simple but predictably getting each segment to light up can be very tricky.



Simple Circuits

I like to start folks off with a very simple problem – how to light up a lightbulb? I don’t always tell people how to do it or what parts they’ll need! We talk about how flashlights and lamps work. Once we get the lightbulb on we add switches, buzzers, etc.