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News Release 09-003

Learning Science in Informal Environments

New report from National Research Council examines science learning outside of school

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Photo of a family at science museum.

During their visit to the Strange Matter Exhibit at the Casa Roig Museum in Humacao, Puerto Rico, a family explores the texture and physical properties of materials used in everyday lives. Strange Matter--or Materia Extraña in Spanish--is a traveling exhibit launched in 2003. The exhibit lets visitors explore materials with unexpected properties, such as liquids that are magnetic; 'feel' atoms with a model of an atomic force microscope; or enjoy the 'music' of the different materials used in a xylophone. Across different stations, they are introduced to the exciting science that underlies what we might consider 'everyday stuff,' while simultaneously obtaining a glimpse of where the future of materials may lead us.


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