Google Fiber meets Play-Doh at museum’s Engineer’s Day

Brittany Rea is animated as she explains how circuits work. (Staff photo by Homer Fennell)


At this year’s Engineer’s Day at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, Google Fiber used Play-Doh to engage children and teach them about circuits.

The event, held on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and sponsored by IBM and Cisco, featured many companies showing off the technology and creativity that goes into engineering.

Google Fiber set up music instruments on laptops and connected the wires to the Play-Doh as a more interesting way to learn about circuits. The welcoming energy attracted kids and both kids and parents faces lit up as they played with the technology.

“Kids were more interested because of the Play-Doh,” said Brittaney Rea, a member of the Google Fiber team. “This helped because it brought something to learning.” Rea’s enthusiasm for the project also energized the children who learned about circuits with her.

While some of the kids were working on their musical Play-Doh, others played a game dealing with refractions. This challenging game including lasers and mirrors proved frustrating for some of the kids when they couldn’t get the laser to reflect correctly off the mirror.

Zachary Smith, Brand Ambassador for Google Fiber at MarketSource Inc., was in charge of the refractions activity. He began by explaining what refractions were and how they worked. As the children were playing, he fired off question after question to make the abstract concepts concrete.

Carl Lundoy, Google Fiber Brand Ambassador-MarketSource Inc., affirmed that the kids are very interested in stuff that is fun and grabs their attention.

The Museum of Life and Science, located at 433 W. Murray Ave., in north Durham’s mission is to create a place of lifelong learning where people embrace science as a way of knowing about themselves, their community, and their world.

Although the museum charges for admission, it also holds community days for Durham residents with an identification showing that they reside in Durham. On community days, adults with identification and up to five children can visit the museum for free. Upcoming community days include Thur., Dec. 1; Sun., Dec. 11; Thur., Jan. 12, 2017; and Thur., Jan. 26, 2017.

Organizers hope the event will lead the next generation to engineering knowing that they may change the world.

The Museum of life and Science can be reached on their website or by phone at 919-220-5429.