Had a bit of “thinking back” time last couple of weeks. Part of it could be a little winter blues hitting too. Realized it was almost a decade ago when the whole idea of building a science museum started. No regrets of course. We learnt a lot and our son got his first taste of not just about science but also about building them. That was about the time I think, he got the concept of building stuff and making by ourselves:). It sure came back to me almost every year. He would insist everything to be made at home for his birthdays whether it was a LEGO Starwars the Clonewars theme or hands-on science theme. Even the little gifts that go into the goody bag were made at home. I learnt how to make LEGO candy, soaps, chocolates, picture frames and of course had a blast with science experiments done by a dozen or so kids.
A couple of years after moving back to Bay area, decided to extend the work I was doing in school(s) as volunteer science teacher and get an iPad app out with hands-on science experiments. I was lucky enough to find a friend who happened to be a brilliant independent film maker who taught me the basics of filming and editing. I am no pro at it but with my son and occasional guest, we made quite a few science videos and released the app. Reason we chose iPad is because we already had iPad at home. But later realized outside US, iPads are not that popular. And since I wasn’t doing this to make money anyway (would have been nice but..), decided to move all the videos to YouTube for free access to everyone. We continued making videos on and off till about a year ago. There are some ideas in planning but just haven’t converted them into videos yet.
Over the last few years, we encouraged our little guy to continue his curiosity in science by picking issues from real world. He did work on some good environmental problems and I admit I learnt a lot from his projects. eg: Fog collection is actually a real viable idea and there are villages in Africa who depend on fog collection as a main source of water! And when we moved to Finland, I thought I am probably not going to be active with all the science stuff. I planned to spend more time in my glass studio and maybe do a few science videos with my son for continuity. But I noticed, I still work with kids and science every chance I get. Whether it’s getting my nieces to build the foldscopes (mini microscope designs by Dr.Manu in Stanford) or be an advisor for my son and his friends to do projects for science competitions. I am still the Science advisor for the high school here and lucky enough to be part of their science projects at least once a year.
I do miss not being a judge at various science events – the Synopsis Science Fair, the First Robotics Competition or at the Tech Museum or…! They used to energize me and amaze me every single year. So, I decided to still continue as long as I can with any kids I am able to reach.
And I noticed that all that time I spent with kids, especially my own, is paying off! He is now working on projects like building Smart glasses or building his own computer! Soon he might start teaching me new things:) and I am always ready to learn something new! I also have a new student for LEGO Robotics for the past few months. Reminds me of the time I used to teach my son and the summer camps I held for some of our friends kids. So, I might as well admit and embrace that I still love working with kids when it comes to science and technology.
I actually started blogging on related topic last week, about Science fairs, but didn’t publish it. I am thinking of reviving the 4SciFun FB page and Instagram with a new idea. You know the Periodic table of elements… Take each element starting from Hydrogen and write an example of where we might encounter that element in daily life! I am excited about it (yes, I do know how geeky that sounds and well, that’s me)… I hope I can find an example for every element in there! If you are interested in following it, it will be on FB page (https://www.facebook.com/4scifun/) and Instagram handle 4scifun starting tomorrow.
I also have some exciting news about a new project I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. But it might be cool to write about it with a video so maybe next week! This project is another blend of Art and Science, only this time it’s more interactive…Can you say AR with glass art? stay tuned for next week!