For those who have ever wondered why there are hairs inside the nose or how a belch and other gas is produced in the human body, here’s the chance to find out.
The answers to those questions and many other slimy, mushy and oozy, yet scientific things that occur everyday in the human body are explored at miSci’s latest exhibit, “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body.”
• What: Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body
• When: Through Labor Day
• Where: miSci, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
• How much: Free, with admission ($6.50-$9.50)
• Info: 382-7890 or www.schenectadymuseum.org
The 5,000-square-foot exhibit opened on Saturday, May 17, and will run through Labor Day.
Adapted from the best-selling “Grossology” children’s book series by author and science teacher Sylvia Branzei, the exhibit takes a hands-on look at the gross stuff kids like with explanations parents like.
“This is one you have to see to believe,” said Chris Hunter, miSci’s director of archives and collections. “There is an interactive 6-7-foot character that shows different body noises … a heartbeat, gulping and a few other things. There is a 12-foot-long walk-through nose on a timer that simulates a sneeze and a game where you pretend you’re the kidney and swipe waste in the bloodstream to capture the bad things in the blood.”
Hunter said everything in the exhibit ties into how the body works from the moment you step into the door.
“You walk into the exhibit through the mouth, like you are entering the body. Then you come into a skin climbing wall for kids, and instead of rocks you are stepping on moles, warts and zits,” he said.
Among the attractions inside, visitors will find a giant model of the human digestive system, which includes a 26-foot esophagus slide from the mouth to the stomach, as well as a tunnel that wanders down into the colon.
“The concept behind it is that you enter through the mouth and slide down the esophagus and climb your way out through the intestine. You are pretending you are a piece of food,” Hunter said.
Along the way, interesting factoids are presented, such as how much mucus and ear wax a person produces in a day, how many different smells a human can recognize, and how much human skin weighs.
Hunter said kids may be surprised to learn what dust mites actually consist of.
“When you breathe in, the dust you breathe in includes dust mites, poop from dust mites and actually micrometeorites,” he said.
At the end of the exhibit, there is a large push-button game for visitors to test what they have learned.
“There is a lot of stuff to really satisfy a child’s natural curiosity about how the body works, curiosity about themselves as they start to explore the outside world and understanding of the inner world,” Hunter said.
Mac Sudduth, miSci’s director, said the interactive nature of the exhibit is key to catching the attention of kids and other visitors. The fact that the exhibit has a gross factor, just makes it even more interesting.
“One of the ways to engage learners is to get them involved in something,” he said. “We think of it as edutainment. Kids learn this stuff in school, but this makes it come alive for them.”
Sudduth said the museum picks their exhibits based on audience surveys.
“We pick things that appeal to a wide audience. We picked 10 different topics we were interested in and of those 10, ‘Grossology’ scored the highest in our surveys,” he said.
The museum will also hold two summer science classes the week of July 7 that relate directly to the exhibit. The classes are also hands-on and taught by miSci educators.
“It’s a great way to learn about the human body,” Sudduth said. “Biological science and the body is very important.”
“Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body” runs through Monday, Sept. 1. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. MiSci is located at 15 Nott Terrace Heights in Schenectady. For more information, visit www.miSci.org.