Imagination-sparking field trip destination

Knowledge+Discovery=Learning

03/21/2011  | 
Museum Destination
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The Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) is the South’s new destination for imagination, adventure, education and great field trips. The one-of-a-kind, nearly 40,000 sq. ft. facility opened its big, red doors in December 2010. The museum boasts five exciting and educational galleries that take students and teachers on a journey of learning through science and technology in the World at Work Gallery, the cultural arts in the Express Yourself Gallery, literacy in the Wild about Reading Gallery, health and nutrition in the Healthy Fun Gallery and Mississippi heritage and history in the Exploring Mississippi Gallery.

“Our museum is fun, but it is so much more than that,” said Susan Garrard, executive director of the Mississippi Children’s Museum. “We offer experiences that are sensational, inspirational and educational. We want to spark a passion for learning in all children that visit us.”
“We want all of our visitors from Mississippi to be proud of the state we call home and we want to teach visitors from other states about Mississippi’s importance to the world.”

This is evident in the museum’s mission to provide a unique and exciting educational experience that ignites and inspires a thirst for discovery, knowledge and learning in all children.

MCM began hosting field trips in mid-February. These field trips offer an innovative approach to learning and exploration in the museum. Teachers can choose from several field trip programs that delve deeper into learning using collaborative and engaging activities. Each program meets one or more of the Mississippi Department of Education’s State Benchmarks. “Our programs promote and support teaching and learning best practices,” said Alicen Blanchard, Director of Education. “Our interactive, multidisciplinary programs make the concepts introduced and developed in the classroom come alive in our thematic learning environment.”

Field trip programs include:

  • Ignite It and Write It: A spark of creativity is all children need as they learn to write their own stories using pictures as their guide. Students combine their literary skills and imagination to create a story to share with their classmates.
  • World of Storytelling: Journey in to the world of storytelling using puppetry. Students craft a puppet, create a story and then put on a performance on the MCM Puppet Theater stage. 
  • All about H2O: Discover how a boat floats, a tornado forms and why oil and water do not mix. Children learn “absorb” these concepts and more through a series of hands-on experiments and projects at the MCM water table.
  • Fossils, Fossils All Around: Fossils, Fossils in the Ground:  Dig in to learning about fossils and become an archeologist.  Children also make a fossil to take home. 
  • Journey of Digestion: Find out what happens to food after it is eaten. Students take a trip through the digestive system in the MCM Gastro Climber and explore the digestive system through hands-on experiments and activities.
  • Healthy Habits:  Visit the healthy farmers market and Little Cooks’ Corner.  Children learn to balance a healthy diet, exercise and rest.
  • Building Blocks: Build a foundation in science and technology. Children learn about forces and design and test as they build a race car and race it on the MCM race track.
  • Design It: Uncover the creative side of construction. Students investigate engineering and math as well as architecture as they build and test a building.

All field trips include time in each of the five galleries in addition to the accompanying lesson. Teachers can also schedule a field trip to the museum just to explore by booking a two-hour free play field trip.

MCM also offers daily, weekly and monthly programs that provide educational experiences for children that are toddlers to pre-teens. ABC Come Play with Me is a time for infants, toddlers and their parents, grandparents and/or caregivers to learn together. The program consists of tactile activities that help young children learn the alphabet, counting, colors and shapes and more. These activities help prepare children for pre-school, while allowing them to have creative discovery and socialization with other toddlers.

Ready to ROAR Reading Time is a daily program that focuses on different children’s authors each week. This program exposes children to a variety of books and promotes a love of reading by bringing books to life. Children will hear many classic tales and contemporary favorites and may be inspired to write their own stories. MCM plans to offer additional programs and activities throughout the year to keep children in engaged and coming back for more.

Garrard says she hopes that all students in the state have the opportunity to visit the museum and that people from outside of the state will come here to play and learn more about Mississippi. “There is a real sense of Mississippi pride that is woven into every gallery,” said Garrard. “We want all of our visitors from Mississippi to be proud of the state we call home and we want to teach visitors from other states about Mississippi’s importance to the world.”

MCM is located at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson, MS. For more information or to book a field trip, call 877-793-KIDS (5437) or visit www.mississippichildrensmuseum.com.
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