Located in Newtown Johannesburg, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre hosts a variety of workshops during its Wind and Water holiday programme for children of all ages. These workshops take place from 9am to 5pm every day, but there are also a lot of interesting things to do at the centre in between workshops.
The centre has more than 350 mathematics, science and technology exhibits. These exhibits do not require any previous knowledge as their aim is to help learners understand the science they are surrounded by in their daily lives. The exhibits are interactive and parents are often seen also engaging in them.
An example of such an exhibit is the car sponsored by BMW. Learners can sit in the vehicle and experience how it works, but all the different parts of the vehicle are also on display. These displays show the finer workings of gears, engines and various mechanical components. By simply turning a lever or pressing a button learners can see how these components work.
Another display allows learners to get a feel for construction. There are foam bricks and a structure where learners can build the walls of a building. There is also an assembly line and a crane they can operate to drop their foam bricks in the right places.
Some displays involve more physical activity, for example the Science of Soccer exhibit. Here learners get to test their response times by kicking a soccer ball in a match-like simulation area.
The Supernova team visited a workshop at Sci-Bono on building Water Rockets. The team at Sci-Bono explained to the group that by using a bottle, some cardboard, water and a bicycle pump you can build a rocket that will shoot high into the air. The following materials were used:
· Plastic 2 litre Coke bottle
· Colour paper
· A stopper
· A pump
· Glue gun
The coloured paper was folded into a cone and sellotaped to the bottom of the bottle to form the top of the rocket. By making a cone shape the rocket becomes streamlined. The cardboard was cut into fins, folded and glued to the sides of the bottle to allow the rocket to stand upright. The rocket was then filled with water and secured onto the pump. As air is pumped into the rocket the pressure builds until the rocket shoots off into the air leaving only a spray of water behind.
Sci-Bono also offers Science Shows where learners get to see various chemical reactions and learn where these chemicals are used in practice. Other exhibits include themes on sound, electromagnetism and renewable energy amongst other things.
Children can explore the centre alone or in groups and there is a restaurant with a variety of snacks and meals on offer.
Sci-Bono is a definite must-see for curious kids during their school holidays. Entry fees are R10 for children under 6 years and R20 for adults. Parents can phone 011 639 8400 for more information.