The littlest tykes were made to feel at home at the Discovery Center, during the Itty Bitty Einsteins preschool science class, Saturday, July 6.
“I am a scientist. I explore ...,” was enthusiastically repeated by the kids, responding to Hannah Gates, Pierre, summer teaching intern. Gates got her class of youngsters, and their parents, to do actions in a classroom setting. After hearing and pantomiming what they were going to do, and how to do it, everyone trooped through the main room of the Discovery Center to get to the outside planter area.
Exclaimed as “South Dakota Discovery Center — your hands-on science playground,” the building “used to be a power plant. That is why all the windows are kind of funky, and the basement is a maze,” said Gates. The center is at 805 W. Sioux Avenue in Pierre. Its summer hours, through August 31, are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. through 5 p.m. Many activities for all ages come with the $60 per year family membership. Admission for a day is $4 per person, if the family does not have a registered membership.
The Itty Bitty Einsteins class was approximately a half hour indoors, followed by another half hour of outdoor activities. Some kids (with parents) stayed a bit longer before going inside to touch upon the hundreds of other hands-on activities there. Inside, visitors were assisted by young Mesa Winder, year round associate. Many volunteers, from 11-years-old and up, get visitors started. An entire day seems to slip away while doing all sorts of science activities. Check the website sd-discovery.org.
“Get to know how plants grow, and what they need to be happy and healthy,” said Gates, as she showed up-close how to open a seed. The “baby plant” is inside. Each kid was loaned a magnifying glass to see clearer, things such as the seeds and the leave-lines of growing plants. Each kid planted beans in take-home containers. Seeds, soil, and container were all provided. Various raised planters were investigated by the kids, seeing different growth stages of plants in each. Watering the plants with spray bottles was fun, and extensive. And, now the kids get to watch their own plants grow at home.