Focus on the Upstate 108 - Roper Mountain Science Center - 6/17/18

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, June 17th
Michael Weeks, Director of the Roper Mountain Science Center, talks about the new renovation to Harrison Hall and the learning opportunities that and other exhibits provide for students of all grade levels as well as teachers.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the upstate a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today my guest is Michael weeks. The director of the roper mountain science and good morning Michael good morning as things have global thank you for being in here's my pleasure to have you. Wrote amount of science sinners and aimed at a lot of our listeners probably will recognize not the least reason being he has holiday lights that tell you guys do or should say did. Right recently made a decision to. Unfortunately in again fortunately this was the last year and it was a great family tradition for Greeneville but we do have a lot of other exciting things going on a reprimand them sock them and that's and that's good that's good and I understand there's there's been a lot of holiday lights. Displays that have been cropping up that it just kind of reduce the traffic in and it was in the decision was made to to. But it away AM and it's it's you know as it. Sad to see it go but but there's plenty of other stuff to deal roper mountain science senator for all ages exactly so I'm gonna start with the first question that a normally ask my guess which is what do you do and who you do for just a general introduction to roper mountain science center for the audience Gallo reprimand Scion. And it's just really unique facility even nationally it's it's amazing that we have it right here in Greeneville. We are owned and operated by Greenville county schools which means that our primary focus during the school year are our students of the upstate. I'm and we are visited by a more than just Campbell county schools as well that makes up about 75% of the students receive but we see over thirty different counties come a rep from mountain including. Students from North Carolina over from Georgia. And from all over South Carolina com. For hands on experiential. Learning experience is primarily in science but in social studies and leadership as well. And it's just a very unique 62 acre facility. I'm right where 385. And 85 come together yep and you use of the word twice and I think it zaps the unique it really is unique. I remember going there is he kidding you mentioned the that that it's not just Greenville county public schools although those are the operators of a rough around science centers not just those students that benefit from a students from all over from neighboring states even. Come in and desire I went to a private school growing up and I remember taking field trips to it to rivermen science and there. And it just being kind of in awe of everything that was there it really is what makes it's so unique well it is an a sixty acre campus and we have basically four different main areas we have. I'm a living history farm where you can actually step back in time we have thirteen different historic cabins. Costumes. Educators if you can demonstrate spinning and weaving we have farm animals up. Of course chickens Cao a lot of things that allowed kids just don't get to see any now are right up close and personal. We had a hair it is guard Larry drove the historic crops from the time periods like cotton and indigo. And we do dying with India which is Chris the color of separate airlines flag. And so we. They realize that you added that Carolina blowing as well Carolina blue or something else that's great north Carroll kind of put that. But that they that that deep blue of of this and the South Carolina flag is indigo the trailer again which was I don't learn something already excellent excellent and that was an important cash crap here in our state I'm from alien in the seventeen hundreds and so we show all those different things are living history farm it. Beyond that we have our hairs and hall of natural science where we have literally hundreds of different animals things like snakes and spiders and we have a great. I come marine lab that we can talk about more later. We had a rain forests and then we have of course all the nature trails we have our planetarium and observatory which are four year astronomy books I'm sure they probably. And visited there on one of our Friday started nights but that is the second largest planetarium in the state. As well as Tom a telescope which is a very historic telescope it's the eighth largest reflector. In North America while and yeah that's called the Krieger fracture. It's nicknames the world the world's telescope because yet when the radio broadcast happened for war of the worlds this telescope at that time was located in. At Princeton University. And this was the telescope that they twenty to see if this invasion was actually happened on ten. And say we're fortunate to have a hearing Greenville reprimand science center. And then of course the other main area of reprimand is called the sim Sala science and that's where we do a lot of robotics we deal out of stem type activities engineering design challenges. We do a lot of teacher chains out of that building as well. And the if it is for your visit today the reason and I invited used as I gotta press release that said Harris and hall. Had just been renovated to this is really a brand new facility tell us about what the old facility was like in now with the new facility is absolutely we're very excited about the renovation. A paerson of natural science because it was it was built in 1978 and it did. Show its age. And it as as it was added on to US things are changed over time. There was look that was maybe not very uniform. But the whole building data and make over after the the great clips in August of last year we actually. Close it after that and it has been closed the school year and literally just reopened. June 1 for the butterfly adventure. And is a very exciting because in addition to new full lawyers and a new roof and and HVAC systems and things like that we have all LED energy efficient lighting throughout the building which has done wonders just a light everything seek conceive animals you can see the exhibit so much better than you can before. I'm a dad and you paint job. We catch a number of new animal exhibits and habitats and we did a complete make over a far marine lab which is just a very special space. You know for a lot of our students have for our a lot of fat people. Around our area you may enacted to get to the beach in your lifetime merit and certainly not very often and so we kind of bring the beach do you. And and we. Have a touch tank complete with sting rays we've added sharks to detach tank I found that nothing dangerous or just journal Bambi sharks but not every day he can detect a cherica horseshoe crabs has been starfish sea jellies. Com we did a whole exhibit on the importance of the coral reef. Which is just a beautiful exhibit if you've ever seen Finding Nemo are finding Miller. It's that same kind that you know I'm just beautiful habitat with the NM in the N all the different colorful fish. And we showed dull whole food web of the of the coral reef so we have a tank full of creditors as well as pray and calm and separate tanks with a friend predators they say can see ya I got the dog. Don't get a demonstration in the fifth though if they're here they're feeding time okay cut cut. But it's just that I really immersive environment that I think. For those of you have not been before art her sob before the renovation rather I think he'll be blown away by how awesome the marine lab is now. We also added hey Tom exhibit on sharks which is is fun there's a movie coming out this summer called meg could not make good on write yet and that we'd innuendo when we actually planned we have a giant. Make good on mouth. On display that he can you picture made with and just see how enormous the shark was and then we have a shark tracker an interactive on display. Where you can see weird the different sharks off the coast are supposed to popular ones. Man on a checked before he gave the Beecher and nose mouth is this like a mock up remodel or is this actually like a fossil and this is a cast of the files with actual teeth in the cast out. Yes and it's it's a juvenile so it's nice and as large as they intentionally campy but it's the pretty pretty enormous. Know you mentioned that says that there's this movie coming up Nielsen mentioned you know finding Dorian and the coral reef exhibited together after so much entertainment for kids these days you know this is that they just get hooked on united that they've whatever the next big thing is. Does that play apart into the exhibits that you have the you know kind of trying to to hook them on something that they're already interested in or do you just kind of had picked them as you yeah. Now you're absolutely right Chris we intentionally. Look at popular culture and let it influence what BDO reprimand because Obama. Like you said that's been a great way to engage kids so for example of the Jurassic world rebuke of the ultra right or break appears get. We added a dinosaur act outside on our on our trail after that and it was hugely popular zero point pet we planned to you I'm add additional dinosaurs have the next couple years to open a hole dinosaur trail section and in twenty Tony. Combo like you said dory mean mound this fall we're gonna have a big Star Wars day an owner. Of course that's always popular painkiller. So yeah absolutely we we have had Indiana Jones days we've had dinosaur days you know about the only thing we haven't done is that. Infinity war day. Yeah anywhere. There's the other some delicious science that gives you like you can have you know the town east several model instead NASA robotics and stuff like that you absolutely I can see that. But there's there's plenty of other stuff and I I gotta say I remember they're talking before the show I remember being a kid and going to. What I gather was Harrison hall led being in on wasn't aware that the name of it when I was seven years old but it advised. More of my most vivid memories of the visiting. Brooke from unsigned sinner was touching a snake and it was just it was like a regular black snake you know probably threw four feet long they're not dangerous at all really. And a but we got to touch it grain and that that's sort of interaction that kids have win us science with nature. Is so important to learning. Tell your cigarette and that's really what we try to do a reprimand is to immerse. I'm not just the students but our visitors into learning it into the environment and provide there's. Experiences that you can't get in the class Jamie can give army can get from just reading something on the Internet. You actually get the touch the state to get to walk into the rainforest you get to have the butter filing a nine year. Yeah it's a program the robot or go under the night sky and see it without all the light pollution that we have pets here in Greeneville so. We really. Make efforts to provide the best unique experience that we can't for students and visitors and go above and beyond to do. Com hands on science does that's how we learned passes one year keynesian dirty and you're experiencing it ya Yan. And it's interesting that you mention that sort of interaction and and that the kinds of things that you can get in the classroom. One of the things your Tony is that it is that you not only serves students but she served teachers as well teachers come to the science senator. To learn how to participating class that's raid infect this summer is are very popular science plus institute. And Atari filled the summer for teachers but please come visit us next summer it is an amazing institute where they spend a week with us. Learning on depending what grade level are they are teaching we have different topics but they stayed a week with us and they go away. With literally hundreds of dollars of supplies to take back to their class champ. Arm across the state. And say they learn how to teach science and hands on an engaging way they get the lesson plans they need and then they get the supplies they need to go back to their class trim. And have a real lasting impact on students Oliver South Carolina. It's fantastic now you mentioned I think it one point the butterfly adventure what is the butterfly adventure. The butterfly adventure is a new exhibit that we just started two years ago this is its third year and it's off to a great start. It runs June 1 huge July 13. Perfect and at thirty started deserves credit you know you want to start the beginning it's it's a a daily thing there was a cigarette you could come any any time and ended a similar experience com. It's kind of built around. An immersive. Rainforest habitat that we have filled with clearly over 400 butterflies at rerelease in there and so that's Canada and the main. Cook and that makes it unique because we don't do that the rest of the year. But for the six weeks June 1 TU July 13 Tuesday through Saturday from nine to three you can come get a ticket. And the whole bottom part of rep mountains up and so Harrison hall the butterfly exhibit where you literally get to go and have the butterflies land on you that's something that we do that. That most but a flags of us don't do they tell you don't touch the better but not that some butterflies we decided that it is important to. Patty deputy to engage with them let them land on you to secede him up close and personal so that. Com the bills and empathy and an appreciation for nature and for the natural world so that's a really cool exhibit we have and then in addition. You can explore the rest of paerson hall you can do the things we talked about like hold on the stake in and that Chinchilla and comparing yourself to make good on about then. And a stingray and we actually have a design lab where we take by a ministry which is looking at. On the natural world in our design of of things so. Come first for this circuit in re alleged the as seeing Ned designs like that you know of their of the B car that they say was designed based on fish or something like that they are exactly and so we have wind tunnels and week we say we have the students get through design challenge where they look at the design of a butterfly and of other flying insects and then they design and there went channel experience based on the and then they get detested and then. Just like to get engineering process if he doesn't work. They get to tweak it and tried again SS Canada of kind of fun design lab with they test neutral buoyancy in the test that flight patterns and whatnot. And speaking of good design and then as you mentioned earlier the of the stem. A practices that that. Seemed to be a major focus in education these days you know gear and getting getting kids interested in. Seems sure if I remember correctly science technology engineering and mathematics that threat has. Those are I mean there's such crucial things not just you know for for learning you know kids coming up and and learning about those concepts but. Integrating into society these days talk about the the work that they're reform once considered as the stem. During the school year clearly every day with students. We have the opportunity to create learning experiences around stem and steam is as the other and reinsert the arts and act. But what's interesting is is where we are. Teaching kids today for jobs that. Are not around yet threatened. I jobs. It's funny that you mention that because idea and I have. Two small children so that people who listen to me on now on these various stations we'll know that that I have two small children. And and it's my excuse for not doing a lot of but idea I go when my son was born. I remember looking at him and wondering. Whether his job had been invented yet ready to tell because a because a scenario I think in you know we have YouTube stars knew that I mean you two didn't exist when I was born so. Please condemned sorry so that aggression any interaction but but it's you're absolutely right. That so many of the jobs that that we're training kids for these days haven't even been invented. Right exactly and so we design a lot of our experiences around. Some key components things like inquiry getting to is CU. Understand how to look at a problem how to solve a problem what it is that whole engineering design. I'm process that we're talking about is crucial not just because everybody's gonna become an engineer stand up but because it's about problem solving. And if you can problems solved then you can't. Do the jobs of tomorrow and so we work on a lot of. Experiences they have the students working collaborative leak. Doing design processes. And then a lot of inquiry as well if you're interested in something if you're learning about it if you are engaging in a hands on way. There's just so much learning that's going on and that's what we try to do both with the field trips during the school year as well as of with the public programs like the butterfly adventure and other ones that we do as well. But and I think that's an interesting approach to education because one thing to be sitting in the classroom the teacher comes in says. This is what we're gonna learn about the day as the kids not particularly interested in it than maybe doesn't pay attention or maybe she'd Muniz and out or something like that. But there were at a place like reform unsigned senator you've got all of these different things that you could learn about. And really just have to pick which one you want to do right exactly and another. Great way that that we have students you do that is through our summer camps will be Lydia have over a hundred different topic says here intercede. And carnivorous plants for example we have a camp on carnivorous plants but if you're interested in learning to program a robot we have a camp on that as well Seth. We try to have just the the gamut of different camps so that you can really die down until what year what your interest of invade. Come back to a retired medal for your rate and now we all carry little computers yes with are so all us computing editor for two and exactly say. You we don't need to just stuff information into kids anymore we need to teach them how to think for themselves how to work collaborative Lee how do you problems solved not just. Breaking information you know S and looking back at my a formative education you know we agreed school and I school on things like that. I have thought on a number of occasions that one of the most important things I learned in school. Was how to learn me and and that's such an important part especially with sciences he knows learning how to. Discover the information that you lack right exactly and we we can have four buzz where is that we is that reprimand which are all right based around the experience is that we want those are discover. Explore. The search in creates and we did we build all our programs around those things Khazei first yet to build interest yet to discover it what yet to search out. It first what every interest in and then you discover more about you explorer which is a great way to learn. And then ultimately when you treat that's when that the real learning happens if you can take what you learn and apply it create something as magical damp. They mentioned the S summer camps that you got to hear a little bit more about that if people wanna get involved. How did they it is is registration still open for summer camps we have a few camps that are still open I will I will recommend coming up on summer reassure our yet we actually most of our camps amazingly in February. Tom most of them sellout and a lot of people become members of her upper mountain because you did. A discount on camp to get to come free to things like butterfly adventure Freddie starry nights but in addition you get first crack at this camps and. After our member registration which last three days we are usually over 80%. Full in our camps back in February so I'm not saying that dumb you're too late because we do you still have some spots open and you can find all that out on our website which is. Debbie Debbie Debbie got roper mountain dot org I'm we do lists the camps to have openings. But I would definitely try to plan for next year to be ready in February for those camps he duchess and so re really right around the beginning of the year January February and that's when you need to be looking at that stuff it's too good sign up. Not that you can't get in now but it's tough for him right it's it's harder now for your favorite one might be gone right right right. Now you mentioned the memberships. That you get first shot at the this summer camps and other things what are the other benefits of membership that there are from outside senator. The course admission to a lot of fire our events I'm so for example Friday starry nights eating come absolutely free second Saturdays absolutely free. On the butterfly adventure free as well. The summer camps that we talked about not only do you get a discount on them you also get first for an addict has had a very popular camps. Another thing that's really great about our membership is if you travel at all. We have a reciprocity with over 300 different science centers all around the country says here in Boston or here in New York or Chicago or any place like that you can get into those museums for free with our membership which is really a perk. And our membership has allowed more affordable hope that a lot of those places are from a family memberships only 65 dollars and that. Gets you in your family into all of this public programs that we talked about as well as the number of there. Discounts and things for our other events and our members are important because they also helped to support rep math and science center of credit as well get a funding the reverend nonsense and guess is going to be a big issue nets 65 dollars is after the year for a month through that's for a whole year earlier membership okay isn't isn't a calendar year school year it's a calendar years whenever you take your membership it'll be good for the next 365 days from that point got a 65 bucks a year that sounds cheap yet. Yeah it's it's a great deal it really is in the course we have other levels as well with other benefits. But as say it's really a bargain for a family got to know if people are not members. How did they get the benefits of performance on Saturday mentioned tickets on a few of the things brain drain and most of our public events we do you have ticketing that now you can go online and you can purchase to take you there. Or depending which the event is you just come T rep amount mutant. Given the ticket base. And purchase your tickets there and their prices for the events vary depending on what the event is. Imus fits the Freddie starry nights or if it's better find adventure but and everything we try to keep pretty affordable so that we can get as many people. I'm engaged as we can get in now before we run at a time wanna talk about some of the other things that they usually talk went on the show which are. The other types of getting involved if people wanna donates money and I imagine the ticket prices don't cover all of your costs down they down we we definitely rely on. The generosity of individuals as well as corporations. Businesses. We have a community partner program where we had a lot of local businesses and numb. Corporate support that in believe in the importance of education and stem education in particular and beat. We've really value that we welcome anybody who wants to help Tom roper mountain in that way. In addition of course we talked about them the wonderful support that the school district provides rent Tom but we do have a aboard and that that works on fundraising as well the roper mountain science senator association. And things like the memberships as as was the higher level supporting memberships those. Help us any molested two do you more and more with our programs and provide those for more people. But about volunteer order employment opportunities that program on science and absolutely be and we love our volunteers hat right now today I think we have had about twenty or thirty different volunteers are about and honestly. And an end and there are a lot of different ways the involved for example during a butterfly adventure and might be. Standing in the rain forests and help and people identify what the butterflies are or in the marine lab that. In addition we have different gardens and says here are not interested so much in. Being an inside you you can help out by Tom to and weeding doing the planting doing that can those kind of things need to happen said. To keep the gardens gallon. They're just allowed different volunteer opportunities and we have those on our website. I'm available for people to to check out as well which I'm gonna mention again roper mountain dot org. RO PER mountain all spelled out reform mountain dot org is the website they can find out about summer camps. Donation volunteer opportunities. Presumably. Employment opportunities well if you get those yet. Thanks very much Michael weeks director of the rivermen unsigned senator's been my guess they think you very much for being here a waitress and appreciate it has been my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this has been focused on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the upstate with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. C Evans