Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Visiting Our First Science Museum in Thailand!

After living in Thailand for ten months, we finally found a science museum and got a chance to visit it! The National Science Museum is located outside of Bangkok, about a 40-minute car ride away. It was located in a compound with three other science museums and other research and technology facilities in the middle of nowhere, so the trip required some planning. We hired a driver to drive us there and pick us up to bring us to our son's gymnastics class in the afternoon. We also had the name and address of the museum, and maps with directions, printed out and written out in Thai so our driver could read and understand them. Even then, it was still a little tricky to find.

The day didn't start out as planned. We were supposed to meet up with the family of a teacher who works at another international school in Bangkok -- someone my husband had met in February, when he went to Indonesia for a professional development conference. But he canceled at the last minute, which put us off because he was the one who asked to meet on this particular day. He canceled because he was going to rent a car for the day, but realized that his American driver's license had just expired, and didn't want to take the risk of being rejected for car insurance. This surprised both of us because this was the first we had heard of anyone, local or not, actually following the law! My, how our mindsets have changed over the last ten months.

Then, after we arrived, we found out that the museum opened at 9:30 instead of 9:00 as indicated on the museum's website. A security guard took it upon himself to make sure we knew where to go and what to do, showing us where the canteen and museum shop were while we waited. We went to the museum's canteen, got some ice cream, and settled in. Ice cream at nine o'clock in the morning...that would never have happened at home. Another change in our attitude and mindset!

But it turned out to be a great place, full of fun activities and exhibits. The facilities were a bit older, and the exhibits weren't as polished and well-maintained as what we're used to, but they were  well-done, especially for children my son's age. There were six stories, with a specific theme on each floor. Almost everything had a hands-on or interactive component for children to play with or try out. We had a blast, and my son didn't want to leave. There was so much to do and see that we didn't even make it through all six floor, but since there are three other buildings we want to explore, we definitely will be going back. A great deal at less than $4 total for the both of us (my son got in for free)!
The car dashboards here are always full of interesting things to look at.
The cool-looking National Science Museum.
Seeing the inside of a Prius.
A model of the solar system, with the planets revolving and rotating at their actual rates.
Warming up the air inside a hot air balloon and watching it go up.
Learning about how sound travels through tubes that varied in length and width to show how those factors affect sound travel.
Playing with a piano and learning about how a piano works.
More about sounds with cymbals and tubes made of different metals.
Two satellite dishes across the room from each other, allowing a person to speak into one and another to hear at the other.
Seeing how light travels through different types of lenses.
Geometry: you wouldn't think the straight rod could pass through the curved space, but it did.
A big tunnel with a hand holding it up. 
Inside the tunnel were exhibits on various types of energy.
Wind power. These windmills were attached to light bulbs with varying levels of brightness that correlated with the strength of the wind.
Nuclear energy.
Solar energy.
Playing with plasma.
Through a crank, this apparatus allowed us to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules from each other in water and build up pressure in a tube with the hydrogen gas, which then caused a rocket to shoot up. Really cool.
An L-shaped pendulum that swings in unpredictable ways. 
Learning about friction.
Using air pressure to keep a ball in the air. As a two-year-old, my son loved doing this with his ball-popper toy, balancing balls and balloons in the air. 
A demonstration of forces acting on the ball as it spins.
Circuits and batteries.
Trying out various materials for static electricity.
A random broom-and-dustpan set amongst the exhibits.
Gravity: How fast does each weight fall? 
This floor was about Earth and its various resources.
Learning how much energy various appliances use.
A model of the planet.
A video on Greenhouse Effect.
An interactive board about the planet. The small rectangle in the lower left corner shows my husband and son. They stood in one particular spot and used their hands to manipulate the board.
Turning Earth with his hand.
This globe showed various things occurring with the planet from the 1890s into the future. This picture shows the temperature of the planet in 1980.
The planet becomes considerably warmer by 2140.
We quickly peeked at the fifth floor, which was about the human body. Not sure what Doraemon had to do with that, though! 
An exhibit on recycling.

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