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New virtual field trips at the Science Mill

The Incredible Ball Machine at the Science Mill in Johnson City is a maze of loops that you can work yourself to move the balls through the intricate design. Since you can’t go to the museum right now because of COVID-19, the museum staff will take you on a virtual field trip of the exhibit and others from 11 a.m.-noon every Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Science Mill

Take weekly virtual field trips on the Explorer Zone, a new online activity on the Science Mill’s website. The Johnson City science, technology, engineering, and math museum is closed through at least April 30 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic levels. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the exhibits and learning experience.

Explorer Zone offers a live presentation hosted by museum staff that focuses on one of the more than 50 exhibits . Different members of the staff walk you through the exhibits, explaining each part and demonstrating how hands-on activities work.

The presentations each come with Learning Lab activities and online games. You’ll also find career connections, writing prompts, and printable activities that are easy to download.

The next presentation, 11 a.m.-noon Tuesday, April 7, explores crazy contraptions such as the Incredible Ball Machine, including a wild ride marble run creation and Rube Goldberg machines. You’ll learn about physics and how to create your own designs.

On Tuesday, April 14, also from 11 a.m.-noon, the Science Mill presents Wondergraph. Staff will use math to design intricate works of art on a Wondergraph they created. A Learning Lab helps you create your own geometric drawing machine. Again, the presentation comes with career connections and downloadable, printable activities.

The first presentation on Tuesday, March 31, was about aquaponics. The presentation was recorded and is available online along with its Learning Lab and other extension activities.

The Science Lab is located at 101 S. Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City. For more information, email Follow the museum’s Facebook page for the latest on any changes or new exhibits.

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