New Science Experiences Have a Home Base in Vallejo, at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Boys working on building a bridge at the Vallejo Inventor's Lab

Contact: The Hall Newsroom: 510-643-8980

Berkeley, California April 29, 2011 – The Lawrence Hall of Science, the University of California, Berkeley’s public science center and the leading provider of science education outreach programs in Northern California, is setting up a new home base in Vallejo.

The Lawrence Hall of Science has long been a provider science education programs used by Vallejo’s schools. Vallejo Unified School District is a user of FOSS (Full Option System Science), a kit-based science curriculum produced by the Hall. The Hall’s outreach education programs have come to local schools on annual basis. The Hall is now expanding it’s program offerings in Vallejo to include programs for families, and to expand offerings for school groups, teachers, and community educators. “We’re looking forward to working with the Vallejo community to adapt the programs and services the Hall as to offer to best meet local community needs,” said Gretchen Walker, Director of Community and Visitor Programs for the Lawrence Hall of Science.

The Inventor’s Lab, now open at the Norman C. King Community Center in south Vallejo brings some of the most popular programs from Hall’s main location in Berkeley to Vallejo families. The Inventor’s Lab features opportunities to design, build and test your own solutions to engineering design challenges. A new design challenge each month brings opportunities you to challenge your problem solving and design skills, and give you a chance to spend quality time working with your family. Use motors and gears to make something that moves on its own. Power your creation with solar panels. Build and optimize a model race car for maximum speed. Explore the spinning motion of tops and create your own. At the Inventor’s Lab in Vallejo, a new theme every month will

“We’re excited about this opportunity to bring some of the most popular programs from our main location in Berkeley to families in Vallejo” said Monika Mayer, Site Coordinator for the Inventor’s Lab.

In addition to monthly challenge, the Inventor’s Lab also features some classic activities from the Hall’s main location in Berkeley:

  • Bridge Building – experiment with tension and compression to recreate the Carquinez bridge, or one of your own design.
  • Wind tubes – build and test your own flying creation to lift weights to the top of a vertical windtube.
  • Keva Planks – create your own innovate buildings t with a collection of over 1000 Keva Planks -precisely milled pine planks that can be used to build almost anything one can imagine.

Expansion of the Hall’s services in Vallejo are funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as part of a project seeking to inspire young people’s interest in science by promoting partnership between science-rich education institutions like the Lawrence Hall of Science and communities in the North Bay not geographically placed to take advantage of those institutions other programs. The Greater Vallejo Recreation District has partnered with the Hall to give the Inventor’s Lab a home at the Norman C. King Community Center and to make it possible to offer Hall programming at other community locations as the project continues.

The Inventor’s Lab is now open for a free preview for families in May and June. The Summer Launch event on Sunday, June 26th will mark the beginning of the full summer programming offerings including family memberships and workshops for day camps and community groups.

May hours are Thursday and Friday, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
In June, those hours expand to Wednesday – Friday, 3:00 – 7:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am to 4:00pm.
Admission is free during May, June, and the second Saturday of every month. Affordably priced family memberships providing access to all family hours for a year will be available beginning in July. Find out more at the Summer Kick Off Weekend on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.

Workshops for day camps and community groups take place by advanced registration between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, Wednesday – Friday. Reservations must be made in advance will be taken at 510-642-5134 beginning June 20th.

In the Fall, the offerings will expand to include school field trips, Inventor’s Lab birthday parties, professional development for teachers and community educators, an educator’s resource library, and summer science camps in the summer of 2012. School, after school, and family audiences will explore chemistry through experiment soap bubbles and slime, learning about light and color, aerodynamics, chemical composition, surface tension. Biology and ecology take on an immediacy and a friendly face as participants meet our gentle turtles, rabbits, and other animals making guest appearance from their homes in Animal Discovery Room at the Hall’s Berkeley location. The forces that shape the Bay Area and the impact they have on our lives can be seen in opportunities to build structures and test them against the power of earthquakes.