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.
We travelled out to this as well, using the Paris pass. It is on the edge of the city, but so easy to get to. Imagine a similar public transport system in Sydney! Compared to the other places, this was a little bit of let down, not travelling with children might be a result of that though.
The quality of your reflections continues to astound me. Thank you for sharing. I was never fortunate enough to travel to europe with my children ( maybe travelling with 3 boys may have been a overwhelming experience), however travelling with them in australia they made fascinating reflections, I found it interesting, as you are experiencing, the way children read our world text. We must never underestimate their minds eye.
happy travels.. I am back to school tomorrow. but don’t we love it. No other place we would rather be.
So true Denise! I agree! In fact their minds eye can be so ‘grounding’ at times. Too often we complicate things and our children bring us back to what is important!
Been lovely to get your posts while you have been travelling. I am a Francophle but sadly, only from a distance! Have never had the opportunity to travel to France yet 🙁
This place reminds me a little of Questacon in Canberra but I am sure much, much better!!! I remember thinking how important the interactive experience was for children’s learning watching my own children when we used to go to the Powerhouse and Questacon…but not quite in the same language you have used! Insightful and very true!
Thanks for pointing us to your travel blog. The Hunters are heading off to Europe soon and I’ve got the kids organised to blog their travels for all the world (or at least their friends and grandparents) to share.
@Troy, I am with you, it was not a place for moi but was thinking of the kids ;O)
@Denise, I often wonder what my pre-child educator’s brain was like (and I am sure having kids has made me really understand how precious good teachers are to parents)
@Imelda, our girls love Questacon, which is why we actually went to this place. IMHO our one is better.
@Col, I love reading travel blogs so be sure to share :O)