Skip to main content

With creativity, grit, and a little help from gravity, thirty teens set a chain reaction in motion last Friday at Davis Library. The teens, all from local middle and high schools, are part of KID Museum’s Student Apprenticeship Program. Once the museum opens, they will serve as facilitators, guiding museum visitors through activities and exhibits. They’ll also work directly with resident artists and makers, learning both technical and career-building skills.

But for now, they had to make a chain reaction. A chain reaction is an example of “creative learning,” a core part of KID Museum’s philosophy. Creative Director Michael Smith-Welsh explained, “It’s about thinking with your hands. And the secret is to just start building.”

And build they did. They built cardboard tunnels, ramps, pool-ball pendulums, and jerry-rigged marble runs. They invented, they collaborated, they glue-gunned. When a particular sequence didn’t work, they re-thought it and tried again.

But being an apprentice isn’t all fun and games. The students also had to learn about interacting with museum visitors, and customer service. They role-played visitor scenarios and learned what to do when, say, a child doesn’t want to wait in line to use the 3D printer.

It’s their job to encourage kids and their parents to experiment with materials, try new things, and enjoy the process of creating—to be creative learners. And that brings us back to the chain reaction. In the end, the Apprentices’ chain reaction was a success—not because it did exactly what they intended it to do (although it mostly did)—but because it built relationships, stimulated creative thinking, and they had a lot of fun.