The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is the biggest science museum in Europe, with the admirable goal, according to Wikipedia, of spreading ‘scientific and technical knowledge among the public, particularly for youth, and for creating public interest in science, research, and industry’.
To be honest, it was my least favourite place in Paris but the kids absolutely loved it. The kinesthetic learning activities would make a constructivist sing with approval. Lucy and Sarah particularly liked a room that allowed one to explore health, at about thirty stations, in a holistic manner. The visitor attached a barcode bracelet to their wrist with basic information – name, language and age – for scanning at each station which collected data. The kids explored and eventually, were able to print data that compared their ‘health’ to other visitors of the same age.
We spent about 90 minutes in this section alone. The way the kids responded made me think about James Gee’s arguments re: the data video games collect on the players progress, allowing them to compare various facets of their game experience, being the feedback model educators should pursue.
The other, not really connected, issue that gave me pause for reflection, was the kids ‘top 3 choices’ about what made them happy. We sometimes forget how profoundly children are influenced by the environment their parents create. From a longish list, the girls chose ‘travel’, ‘gadgets’ and ‘friends’ (Sarah chose ‘fashion’ rather than ‘friends’). It was not scientific and done quickly but nevertheless worth a good chat at my place ;O)
Our Paris Pass has been a great asset in the French capital this week and visiting the Louvre – I had not realised just how massively labyrinthine – was a spectacular experience. Blogged about it here, at our travel blog.