SCI Blog

At the Science Center of Iowa, our goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals of all ages come to explore science and technology.

To continue the learning outside our building, we bring you the SCI blog! Our knowledgeable staff, along with special guests and local scientists, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at SCI activities, in-depth information about science events and STEM connections in the Des Moines area.

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  • Meet SCI's Jr. Paleontologists

    Were dinosaurs purple? Pink? Green? Or all of the above? What did Earth look like when Futalognkosaurus and Giganotosaurus reigned? We have just the experts to answer these questions!

    Our 7- to 11-year-old “Jr. Paleontologists” were chosen because of their enthusiasm and expertise for all things dinosaur, and they are eager to answer your questions about the wow-worthy traveling exhibition, Ultimate Dinosaurs. Consult these Jr. Paleontologists at SCI’s $5 Family Night on December 12, where they’ll be ready to answer your questions and show off special Ultimate Dinosaurs activities!

    Until then, let us introduce you to a few of these Jr. Paleontologists:

    What made you want to be a Jr. Paleontologist at the Science Center of Iowa?

    Sadie, 8: I’ve always wanted to work at the Science Center, and when I heard they were doing paleontology, I wanted to intern so I could learn more about dinosaurs.

    Landan, 10: I’m really interested in the dinosaurs. I’ve liked them ever since I was in first grade, and I always wanted to learn more about them because they’re really interesting. 

    Chloe, 8: I’ve always wondered about nature, so I wanted to learn more, so I went to the library, and I found this dinosaur book, which looked really interesting, and ever since, I’ve wanted to be a paleontologist.

    Resean, 11: I learned that birds are technically a dinosaur! 

    Cadence, 8: I wanted to become a Jr. Paleontologist because I’ve always wondered about the history of dinosaurs. I wanted to be a Jr. Paleontologist because it sounded like it would be very interesting.

    Why do you like teaching others about dinosaurs?

    Sadie: It makes me feel proud that I’m teaching the world about dinosaurs.

    Landan: If dinosaurs ever came back, so they would have knowledge to know how to escape, so they wouldn’t get eaten.

    Chloe: Then, they get to share what I’ve learned instead of trying to find all of the books and trying to go everywhere instead of just listening to people who know about it. 

    Resean: For them to get interested.

    Cadence: It’s really cool because you can help other people learn more.

    What color do you think dinosaurs were when they lived on the Earth?

    Sadie: I think that they were brown, green or other bright colors to show off to mates.

    Landan: Well, maybe dinosaurs that didn’t need to hide could have bright colors, so they could attract females. Maybe if they had to hide, they could have colors that would match their habitat, so they could hide from predators or even help predators catch their prey.

    Chloe: Different colors, actually. Nothing can be just one color!

    Resean: All colors except for… never mind, all of them.

    Cadence: I think they were mostly brown, blue and green.

    What do you think the Earth was like when the dinosaurs were alive?

    Sadie: I think it was kind of like the Earth right now but no buildings, no people, no man-made stuff. One big continent of dinosaurs. 

    Landan: No humans, nothing we created. A lot of forests, deserts, water. In that time period, the Earth was all put together into one big continent.

    Chloe: It must have looked different. 

    Resean: All the continents were squished together.

    Cadence: All the continents were stuck together, and when it got closer to the dinosaurs being extinct, all the continents were all apart in seven continents.

  • SCI Volunteer Spotlight: Get to Know John Mclaren

    He’s always ready to tell a story about the Science Center of Iowa, but one is his favorite: My favorite toy, of course, is the Cosmic Jukebox. We’re the only science museum in America where a visitor can come in and take a look at the subjects in the Cosmic Jukebox and build an audiovisual program. Other science centers can go that far, but none of them can transfer that selection to a full-dome theater. When I take a group in the Star Theater, I always tell this story — it’s an exclusive at the Science Center of Iowa. It’s marvelous to know we have something so spectacular.

    He had almost no science education, even through his college years: Everything I know about science I learned at the Science Center of Iowa.

    He has one word to describe SCI’s new traveling exhibition, Ultimate Dinosaurs: It’s a ‘wow.’

    He’s dedicated to recruiting SCI volunteers but focuses his attention on one metro community: I’ve been on a campaign for several years now to encourage more of our senior community to come down and spend time at the Science Center of Iowa. I’ve seen grandparents here with their grandchildren who are having even more fun than the children.

    He has experimented with practically every gadget and gizmo at SCI — and even had a hand in building some of them: In those first three weeks before we opened in 2005, I got to put the toys together. I had no idea what was going to be at the Science Center of Iowa. A number of those toys are long-gone, but we have a superb facility for a city the size of Des Moines.