ASTC Creativity Garden Minigrants: How ASTC Institutions Got Creative!

Written by Lesley Markham and Wendy Hancock
creativity garden logo
Dancing the engineering process, building and racing drones, and exploring science through storytelling were just a few of the Creativity Garden projects—out of 87 projects supported by ASTC—highlighted in an ASTC 2016 session this morning.

With the generous support of Disney, ASTC awarded minigrants to 87 ASTC-member science centers and museums. The goal was to reach children ages 6 to 14 from traditionally underserved groups with programs using the seven components of creativity as described in the Center for Childhood Creativity’s white paper Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children—imagination and originality; flexibility; decision making; communication and self-expression; motivation; collaboration; and action and movement. The overall program target was to provide 10,000 children with 75,000 hours of programming. The 87 sites far outperformed those goals, reaching 75,000 children with nearly a quarter of a million hours of creativity programming!

The session highlighted seven exemplary programs, from the Children’s Creativity Museum, San Francisco; Explora, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh; Pensacola MESS Hall, Pensacola, Florida; and Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus, Georgia. Several additional minigrant awardees shared their projects at a roundtable discussion.

A strong theme throughout the presentations was empowerment. Creativity allows imaginations to run wild. It can be used in meaningful ways that children will remember and hopefully build upon. A heartfelt video shown by Lance Tankersley from the Coca-Cola Space Science Center left no dry eyes in the session. (See the second video below.) It describes how two fourth grade classes made a 3D-printed hand for a little boy in Chicago who was missing some fingers. This is science to remember.