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Scott Ellis: Welcome to the Frisco Podcast. I’m your host Scott Ellis, and this week we are hanging out at the Sci-Tech Discovery Center doing a little construction and hearing what they’ve got coming up for 2017. Everybody, welcome back and welcome to 2017. It’s hard to believe it’s already here. This episode of the Frisco Podcast is brought to you by Stan’s Main Street. If you’re out and about this weekend they should be at the top of your mind of places to stop in and have a bite to eat. It’s a very family friendly environment. They’ve got great burgers. They got live music going on Thursday, Friday, Saturday night. Just a good place to go hang out, catch a bite to eat in the middle of the day. Maybe at dinner time if you don’t feel like cooking, stop in, tell them we said hi. Now let’s get into the episode with the Sci-Tech Discovery Center.
Welcome to the Frisco Podcast. We are back at the Sci-Tech Discovery Center hanging out with Bob Gilkison. We thought it’d be fun to start off 2017 by talking about all of, or maybe not all, but many of the things that are coming up at the Sci-Tech Discovery Center this year. This place has been such a part of Frisco for so long now and it’s such a unique resource that we have in the city that we’re excited to see more happening and more and more going on. You guys continue to bring great programs.
Bob Gilkison: Well said. Because we got a lot of things that were looking forward to. We’ve got all kinds of neat things. First and foremost, the thing that’s pressing right now is, this coming weekend, we’re hosting the Scottish Rite Hospital and they’re doing a special event here. We’re facilitating it. Help me out now, its called the Sports Injury Prevention…
Nelli Tokleh: Sports Science and Injury Prevention Weekend.
Bob Gilkison: Thank you, Nelli. I didn’t know. Anyway, what’s really cool about that is we’re going to have some physicians come and do some talks. It’s based on educating folks on the science of sport, as well as how to prevent yourself from being injured when doing sports. As we know here in north Texas, there’s lots of kids involved in sports, in football, basketball, soccer. We’re going to be learning about how to prevent injuries and what to do in case of injuries. We’re going to be talking about concussion, which is a big topic among football. We’re going to do some experiments related to that and what we can expect with a concussion. It’s gonna be really a fun event. That’s both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, the 7th and the 8th, I believe.
Scott Ellis: Is that just this weekend?
Bob Gilkison: That is just this weekend.
Scott Ellis: Do you know how many sessions there are in that?
Bob Gilkison: There are things throughout the day, different events, such as the concussion … We’re going to simulate a concussion with an egg; drop an egg on the floor and see if we can protect the egg.
Scott Ellis: Glad to hear you say you’re doing that with an egg. I was worried for a minute when you started down that path.
Bob Gilkison: Some people call their heads eggs. Then we’re going to be talking about how the brain can be injured and what kind of neurological effects there are. We’ll do some experiments with that and how it affects your senses. Throughout the day, all day, there are different events, and some repeat throughout the day. We’re going to be doing some fun things with the sciences sports with liquid nitrogen, which is super cool literally.
Scott Ellis: No pun intended.
Bob Gilkison: Exactly. I think it’s -370 degrees fahrenheit. It is really cold. We’re also going to be doing stuff about .. We’re going to use Angry Birds, the game that was such a rage a few years ago. We have a real live Angry Birds launcher and we’re going to be talking about the science of trajectory and force and motion when it comes to sports and things like that. Then there will be stuff on how to train and increase your lung capacity and reaction time. There’s a lot of fun things. It’s not just nerdy technical stuff, but there’s actual fun involved here.
Scott Ellis: It sounds like there’s more to it that just lecture as well.
Bob Gilkison: That is correct.
Scott Ellis: You’re actually going to be doing some demonstrations and some fairly hands-on types of things, too.
Bob Gilkison: I would say its more that than lecture for sure. It’s definitely something for the whole family. Kids can participate. Adults can learn from it as well. There’s demonstrations and very interactive. Definitely worth checking out. Then, Scottish Rite, what a great partner they are, too. They’re putting in a new facility down the road here very close. They’re looking to become a big partner within the community, and so this is a great way to get to know those folks and learn about it.
Scott Ellis: Absolutely. We’re excited to have the Scottish Rite coming to Frisco.
Bob Gilkison: No kidding.
Scott Ellis: Unfortunately, I don’t think we know quite yet when they’re opening up, but hopefully sooner than later. If they’re starting to get involved, it makes It feel like it’s imminent for sure. You guys may be hearing some noise in the background right now if you’re listening to this. We are actually recording this at the Sci-Tech Discovery Center where they’re currently bringing down some of the old exhibits and getting ready to put up some new stuff. If you haven’t been in a while, there’s going to be some new things to look at, but you’ll have to pardon our background noise while…
Bob Gilkison: We apologize.
Scott Ellis: Working through this.
Bob Gilkison: In the first week of the year it’s a slow time for us from a guest point of view, so it’s a perfect opportunity for us to switch exhibits. We’re saying goodbye to the Conservation Quest today, which has been here for six months. Soon to be preparing for the arrival of the next exhibit, which will be: It’s a Nano World. That’s going to be all about tiny things and it’s going to be a fun, interactive exhibit. Look forward to that here in a couple weeks. We also currently have a net exhibit that’s on a short-term special engagement run.
It’s called The Castle Builder Adventure. It’s a really neat exhibit all about castles and building your own castles. It appeal to a lot of different ages, including the little ones. Which is a great thing for preschoolers to come and enjoy. We have costumes. You can dress up as a knight or a princess or a queen or a king. We have LEGO models of real live castles. Take a castle from Germany that’s famous, and I can’t remember what the name of it is.
Scott Ellis: [Crosstalk 00:06:19]. That one?
Bob Gilkison: Yeah. They made a LEGO model of it and you can look at it in all angles. It’s really cool.
Scott Ellis: I have to see that before I leave. I’ve actually been to that castle before, so I’ve got [crosstalk 00:06:29]. That’s pretty cool.
Bob Gilkison: Then we have lots of LEGO-building tables for all … Big bricks for the little ones, all the way up to the technical bricks for the older kids. One of the other really cool features of this exhibit is a virtual, interactive catapult where you actually build a wall to protect the castle in the virtual world and then you use the real catapult to launch a boulder and see if your wall could protect your castle. It’s a fun interactive exhibit for that.
Scott Ellis: I can’t think of a little boy on the planet that would not enjoy building a wall only so that he could go break it down with a catapult. Probably plenty of girls, too.
Bob Gilkison: Definitely.
Scott Ellis: Sounds like fun.
Bob Gilkison: We have some life-size LEGO creations of knights and dragons and other really neat objects that are worth checking out. That’s here through January 22nd. Definitely want to stop by and see because it’s not one we’re going to get to see for very long. We also have lots of other fun things going on, actually, this week as well. We have the first of our Veterans First Friday. We started in the fall, and this will be the first of the year where, every first Friday of the month, we host a program for veterans. The veterans are free to come.
With this year, we’ve made it more family-friendly. Veterans can bring their families, for kids 10 and up, and we’re going to do some fun, really cool activities this coming year. This Friday we’re going to be doing some simple metalwork, so we’re going to bend some metals and do some riveting and cut model, see what we can do and create on Friday. As well as another program session will be related to micro controllers. There’s a special hobbyist type of micro controller called an Arduino, and we’re going to do some simple programming and hook up some cool little hardware to it and see what we can come up with that’ll be [crosstalk 00:08:38].
Scott Ellis: Just to be clear, we actually had a conversation with you last month or two months ago, I don’t remember now … That program is specifically in the maker’s space. That is still fairly new to the Discovery Center. Sponsored by [Raytheon 00:08:53].
Bob Gilkison: That is right.
Scott Ellis: First Fridays are for veterans, but this is something that’s ongoing and other people can participate as well.
Bob Gilkison: Right. It’s targeted for veterans and their families. Bring your military ID and you’re welcome. We ask that you register ahead of time and take a little side turn here and say … You can get more information about all these programs at mindstretchingfun.org. That’s our website. You can register for these events at that website. For instance, if you’re a veteran and you wanted to come this Friday, go to the website, register just so we know you’re coming. You can bring your kids. Tell us how many folks are coming and we’ll have enough materials. We can have a great time doing that. We would also ask you to register for the sports science stuff with Scottish Rite folks this weekend as well.
Scott Ellis: [Crosstalk 00:09:44] down for just a second. The Arduionos are cool. What sorts of things are you going to be building with those?
Bob Gilkison: This will be an introduction. Folks that have no experience with it, we’ll just introduce them to the environment. You plug it into your laptop and you can do some simple code. We’ll probably blink some LEDs, control some motors. Basically do an introduction to it, and then once we’ve got everybody on the level playing field, then we can see where it takes us. What’s really cool about maker space and the activities in the maker space is I always intentionally make it where there’s freedom to explore. If you’re really good at one thing and you have an interest with one avenue, we’ll explore that until you get tired of that and we’ll shift gears and go somewhere else.
I have some goals and some inspirations that are in place, but I also want there be freedom to take it where you want to. With the Arduino, once you get the basics, then we can go wherever. We could turn it into … Somebody may have an idea. “I want a mail sensor. When there’s mail in the mailbox, it alerts me at home with a tweet or something.” That was just right off the top of my head.
Scott Ellis: I love it.
Bob Gilkison: [Crosstalk 00:10:58] just come up with something and the Arduino could help facilitate that. It’s just a matter of immersing yourself in the technology so that you can then come up with some great ideas.
Scott Ellis: If we can get the AOL guy to do the voice for the mail sensor, we’ll be happy. Some of you may not remember that.
Bob Gilkison: “You’ve got mail.” They even made a movie about that.
Scott Ellis: They did.
Bob Gilkison: That’s just the January first Friday in the maker space. We have a lot of other events coming up. February and subsequent months, those are scheduled out for the rest of the year through June. I can’t remember, you have to forgive me. There’s so much going on.
Scott Ellis: We’ll get the full schedule up on the show notes for this post.
Bob Gilkison: There’s one that I’m excited about. Woodworking is such an approachable thing for lots of people. It’s easy to get involved in … Sorry. You have to forgive the noise again at the space here. Anyway, one of the things that I’m excited about is building a clock. You can go to the hobby store and buy the little guts of a clock. It’s how you decorate and create the clock to display the mechanism. We’ve got some ideas on how to do that.
Another one would be related to lamps. A lamp is a very simple piece of equipment. It’s a light socket and a wire and a switch. We’re going to do some cool stuff with wood to make a decorative, interesting lamp. It should be fun. Then of course we’re going to fire up the laser cutter and our 3D printer, so there should be infinite possibilities with those devices. Lots of cool things on the horizon for sure. I’m trying to think. What else is going on Sci-Tech? There’s always something interesting going on.
Scott Ellis: You guys have camps and things like that coming up too, right?
Bob Gilkison: That’s right. Thank you for the reminder. I tell you, if I didn’t have my training wheels on, I’d be lost. We just finished some camps over the Christmas and had a great turnout with kids and made some really cool stuff. The three day weekends that kids have off for springtime, we’ll have camps available. Single day camps as well as spring break. We’ll have some fun things to do. Then of course summer’s our big camp seasons where we’re going to … Personally, I’m excited about that. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. We get to build some really cool stuff in the maker space. There’s also [crosstalk 00:13:21].
Scott Ellis: You get multi-day project types of things?
Bob Gilkison: A full week long. Things to look forward to would be a week building go-karts. We built castles with catapults. Catapults and castles where we … At the end of the week we have a giant, epic water balloon war after … We build armor out of cardboard and we make castles, and then we fling water balloons at each other. It’s big fun. With the hot Texas summer, it’s quite a way to finish the week.
Last year we built a giant bridge and we built … I’m trying to think. There’s so many cool things. I think one of the showcases is the roller coaster. That’s one everybody likes to talk about. In the span of a week, the kids will build a roller coaster they actually ride. It’s pretty awesome. It’s 40 feet long or so and you use PVC pipe and wood. Then they have a little cart and the kids climb the ladder, hop in the cart, and go for a ride. It’s pretty cool.
Scott Ellis: Sounds like quite a project.
Bob Gilkison: It is an awesome project and always a highlight of the summer for sure.
Scott Ellis: It sounds like fun. You guys have a ton of good stuff going on this year, and I know there’s going to be a whole lot more coming. We will link up the website calendar, anything we can get into the show notes, to make sure the people can come find you.
Bob Gilkison: Definitely.
Scott Ellis: Great activities.
Bob Gilkison: Sci-Tech, historically, has always been good with younger kids. By adding this maker space we now have the ability to serve middle age kids and upper elementary and middle school kids, which is something that we haven’t been able to provide programming for in the past as well as we can now. It’s amazing. I had a young man last week, we were just using the hammer and saw and nails. He said, “This is awesome!” 5th grade. He’d never had that opportunity before and he thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is amazing. I grew up using the tools and having experience with that. I loved it, but nowadays it’s a rare thing for kids to be exposed to that. When they are, it’s like magic. It’s really a neat experience to see them get all fired up about that stuff. We have lots of cool things going on here at Sci-Tech.
Scott Ellis: Good to know. Keep up the good work and keep us posted as other things evolve and come around for 2017.
Bob Gilkison: Definitely. I appreciate you putting up with and getting the word out. Thank you.
Scott Ellis: [Crosstalk 00:15:45]. We’ll keep things updated and let everybody know. Now before we go, we’re sitting around a table right now and I’m staring at something that looks a little bit like a New Year’s Eve ball hacked together out of plastic cups and Christmas lights, but it looks absolutely amazing. I believe this was used in an event that you guys had here. We’re going to actually finish the podcast where you guys finished off the year and you had an event that I hadn’t even heard about until today. I’m a little late to the part so to speak.
Bob Gilkison: We had a really fun time on New Year’s Eve. We called it Countdown to Noon for families. For those that didn’t want to stay up until midnight and see Mariah Carey do her wonderful performance, we had a family-friendly event with lots of activities and we culminated it at noon with my homemade globe ball like Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve thing. We dropped the ball and released a bunch of balloons. The ball, as you describe it, it’s plastic cups and Christmas lights, but they’re heat-welded together and it glows when you plug it in. It’s a globe. It’s pretty simple, but it’s definitely a maker thing. Just an example of the kind of fun stuff that we like to do here at Sci-Tech.
Scott Ellis: How many people came out for that?
Bob Gilkison: What did we say? Over 450 is the largest number of folks that we’ve had for this event in the past.
Scott Ellis: That’s a good turnout.
Bob Gilkison: Yeah, it was a really good turnout and a big crowd.
Scott Ellis: That’s a packed house. Hopefully we’ll look forward to that again next year.
Bob Gilkison: Definitely. Maybe we’ll come up with some other really neat, whiz, bang, cool thing. I know we had that special event right before the Christmas break at an elementary school her recently where CoServ donated a large sum of money to help us kick off a program that we’re starting today, actually, called Girl Power. In order to celebrate the donation at the school, we set up a giant Rube Goldberg machine which, for those that don’t know, is a chain reaction machine and involved a bowling ball and a hammer and it culminated with liquid nitrogen boiling over into a huge fog like a witch’s cauldron. That was another fun event. We’re always cooking up something [crosstalk 00:18:22].
Scott Ellis: No shortage of fun going on here. Keep up the good work.
Bob Gilkison: Thank you.
Scott Ellis: Thanks for everything you guys have done. We’ll look forward to seeing what else comes up for 2017.
Bob Gilkison: Thank you very much.
Scott Ellis: Talk to you soon. Let’s not forget to thank Stan’s Main Street for sponsoring this episode of the Frisco Podcast.