Hidden Gems in STEM Learning: How Discovery Cube Los Angeles Puts the Fun in Science Education

The STEM-based exhibits and programs at Discovery Cube Los Angeles are like hidden veggies in cookies. The museum’s approach combines science education with hands-on, interactive fun, and engagement.

Discovery Cube Los Angeles (DCLA) is a hands-on children’s science museum located in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area within the San Fernando Valley. Opened on November 13, 2014, the 58,000-square-foot facility serves as a much-needed resource to thousands of families, students, and teachers across the Greater Los Angeles region and beyond. The museum engages visitors through science-based programs and exhibits on issues related to climate change, recycling, healthy living, and more through experiential activities and learning. The key ingredient to getting kids interested and excited about science is to foster engagement through interaction and unique programming.

STEM Edutainment

Race to Zero Waste

The Cube offers interactive science exhibits, field trips, educational programs, camps, and outreach programs that foster science-based discovery through four core initiatives: STEM Proficiency, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Living, and Early Learning. The secret to STEM learning is inviting and engaging with the local community, schools, neighborhoods, educators, and the whole family. Each exhibit and program has been curated for hands-on fun and learning while taking the stress out of planning for parents, teachers, and caretakers. Here are just a few examples of unique permanent exhibits that visitors experience when they come to the Cube:

  • Park Science – kids climb a rock wall and learn about the Santa Ana winds meteorology and topography
  • Race to Zero Waste – kids are challenged to sort through waste and divert materials from landfills
  • Planetary Research Station – examine earth from a suspended animated globe to observe the solar system, natural disasters, marine migration, climate change, human impact, and more
  • Helicopter Tours – step into a dome theatre for a 300-mile journey to learn about water sources and the importance of conservation, water sanitation, and reclamation
  • Discovery Market Shop – kids “shop” in a grocery store to learn the importance of purchasing and packaging decisions as well as nutrition facts to make healthy shopping choices
  • Raceway – build a car, test it, and then re-engineer its design to win a race or beat a time
  • Early Learner Zone – designed for children five years and under to help teach techniques on reading, math, and language in preparation for success in school
Park Science

Science Education Beyond the Classroom

According to the 2018 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education, on average, only 18 minutes are spent on science in a school today for a K-3 grade student, if not less.

In recent years, we have seen science scores decrease in elementary school and remain stagnant in higher levels of schooling. This has only been exacerbated during the ongoing pandemic, which has put science on the backburner even more. In a recent report, LAUSD’s spring 2022 test scores revealed a large decline for Latino and female students. Experts have indicated there should be more support and programs available for young girls and Latino students with parents who don’t understand the English language or don’t always have an equal education to help them. The pressure also lies on educators to take on more responsibility.

That’s where a museum like The Discovery Cube can help. DCLA works with many local schools in providing field trips as well as “Science to Go” on-campus assemblies and community demonstrations.  Sometimes schools may be lacking in staff resources or teachers with the content expertise required to teach about climate change, physics concepts, or science in general. Other times teachers are just looking for a fun way to help connect their science class to the real world. Discovery Cube LA has been and continues to serve as a vital support system to teachers and schools, especially as they continue to address the demands of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in classroom instruction.

Kids will also be so engrossed by the exhibits during their field trips or the challenges during their “Science to Go” programs that they won’t even realize they’re learning. Hands-on activities with real-life applications are incredibly effective at teaching kids because they allow kids to see how the subjects relate to their daily lives. The Cube makes it a great. experience for kids and grown-ups, especially when playing and learning are combined.

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The Importance of Prioritizing Science Education

Discovery Cube Los Angeles prepares kids for a lifetime of curiosity by instilling a sense of inspiration and enthusiasm for the sciences. If we hope for our present and future generations to be more well-informed, we have to prioritize science education. Public policy decisions make huge impacts on all of our lives, and it is crucial for kids of today to understand the impacts that science and technology will have on their lives presently and in the future. There are infinite scientific discoveries to be made, and we need to ensure the kids of today are the innovators of tomorrow who can propel the world forward. This can only occur if we support our students in being scientifically literate in this increasingly STEM-focused world.

You can do your part to support STEM education and join Discovery Cube’s journey to inspire the next generation of innovators in a few ways…

  • Visit Discovery Cube Los Angeles – The museum is located at 11800 Foothill Blvd, Sylmar, CA, and is open Monday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Let Your Teacher Know! Ask your child’s school administrators and educators to book a DCLA field trip or a “Science to Go” program. To learn more, email [email protected] or call 714-913-5030.
  • Donate today. Every dollar makes a difference. DCLA – 501(c)3 ID: 45-5191270. To make a donation to the Los Angeles campus, contact Brian Lam at [email protected] or 818-686-2839.

To learn more about Discovery Cube Los Angeles, visit www.discoverycube.org.