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Imagination Station & Lucas County

Partners in STEM

Imagination Station is a community resource that plays an integral role in shaping both the educational and cultural landscape of Lucas County. With educational resources for both families and educators, the science center helps Lucas County engage learners of all ages in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. We provide curricula that is aligned to current standards to enhance learning in the classroom, and we make the sciences fun and engaging so that anyone visiting the science center can experience how exciting and accessible the sciences are. Our exhibits, educational programs, science demonstrations and interactive activities provide unique learning opportunities that are not possible within the pages of a textbook or within a classroom setting.

The science center also adds an important layer to the rich culture of the Toledo region. In addition to being educational, we are also an entertainment center that provides a fun space for families and educators every day. Our temporary exhibitions bring unique experiences to Toledo every year. Through these, we draw visitors to Lucas County. About 60% of our 200,000 yearly visitors come from outside Lucas County to spend their time and money within Toledo.

Imagination Station’s mission to bring science education to the community extends well beyond the permanent exhibits and learning worlds. The science center’s educational efforts include more intensive experiences that promote hands-on, inquiry-based exploration and exciting scientific discovery. Educational programs meet the needs of multiple audiences including children, educators, families, scouts and community organizations. These include:


Grant- and Sponsor-Funded Programs

From 2013 through the present, Imagination Station has partnered with Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) and local funders to help parents separated from their children improve their relationship with, and ability to relate to, their kids as they work toward reunification. Three times each week, two trained team members from Imagination Station visit LCCS and deliver interactive science workshops.

Weekly during the school year, Imagination Station sends team members to Robinson Elementary, a TPS HUB school, to share interactive storytelling and related activities with Robinson kindergarten and preschool students from the surrounding area. The program also included a family field trip to the science center as an opportunity to explore Imagination Station and participate in a workshop. Through this program, we were able to reach almost 60 kindergarten and preschool learners a week, over a period of 16 weeks.

Our Adopt-a-School program gives corporations and foundations a way of directly impacting the children in our community by providing them with field trips to Imagination Station or outreach programs. Over 16,000 Lucas County students have benefited from this program.

We have also submitted a proposal for funding that will provide after school programming in partnership with the Zepf Center. The Zepf Center provides support services for those individuals with severe behavioral and mental health issues. The existing after school program includes therapy, sports programs, crafts and healthy activities. Imagination Station will provide innovative, creative programming that builds confidence for individuals in grades 7 – 12 by utilizing our newest exhibition space, IDEA Lab. This program is contingent upon funding and will run through the 2017 – 2018 school year.


Educational Partnerships

Imagination Station is an active member of the educational community and has partnered with the University of Toledo, Lucas County Schools including Sylvania Public Schools and Toledo Public Schools, Lourdes University, Bowling Green State University, Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education (NWO) and WGTE to deliver professional development and programming. 


Educational Resources

Imagination Station’s main avenue for sharing educational, fun science is within its building. With hundreds of interactive exhibits, activities and demonstrations, Imagination Station equips visitors with the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century. All of the exhibits, activities and demonstrations within the building and through outreach programs are aligned to the most recent educational standards and teach important scientific concepts. Over the past seven years, nearly 40,000 Lucas County students have visited the science center on field trips. Through STEM experiences designed to excite and entertain, everyone who walks through Imagination Station’s doors can learn something about the STEM fields.

Imagination Station has also made sure that schools that cannot take a field trip to the science center can still access our education curricula by bringing our outreach programs to their schools. We have designed workshops, school-wide science festivals and demonstrations that are deliverable to any school and that are all aligned to current educational standards. We have dedicated team members who bring these programs to classrooms throughout the region. Since opening, we have served over 46,500 students within Lucas County. 


Outreach

Recognizing the limited transportation budgets in Lucas County schools, Imagination Station features extensive outreach program offerings that bring science education out to the schools: including Science Festivals, Workshop on Wheels, Pre-School Workshop on Wheels and STARLAB®. Outreach programs have impacted more than 93,000 students and teachers since Imagination Station opened.


Girls in Science Initiatives

  • Women are significantly underrepresented in the STEM fields. Despite making up 48% of the overall workforce, only 24% of STEM workers are women. The decline in interest in the STEM fields begins at a young age. Imagination Station recognizes this as a problem that needs to be addressed at the local level and has many specific initiatives to engage girls in the sciences. Some of our larger efforts include:
    We are working with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio to bring STEM programming to girls in grades 2 - 5 in Lucas County and surrounding low-income areas during the school year. This includes both a field trip to the science center and outreach programs. This program serves approximately 150 girls.
  • For the past two years, we have hosted a Girl Power! STEM Career Day for Girls. This program gives young women in our community the opportunity to meet and learn from women in the STEM fields. This event offers a female STEM professional Q&A session, a special EXTREME demonstration from Imagination Station, special activities prepared by STEM professionals and the opportunity to explore the science center.
  • Imagination Station partners with the Young Women of Excellence (YWOE) program to offer a day of learning, at the science center. During both workshops and time at relevant Imagination Station exhibits, the girls have the opportunity to explore content that is identified as important by YWOE leaders. The program includes a leadership and service opportunity for high-school members of the group in keeping with YWOE's goals. They attend a pre-session training to assist younger members of the group during the main program.

Community Collaborations

Imagination Station has ongoing collaborations with area organizations like The Toledo Zoo, Toledo Mud Hens, Boys and Girls Club of Toledo, Toledo Walleye, University of Toledo, Lourdes University, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and WGTE. The science center is also an active member of TACL (Toledo Area Cultural Leaders), the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, Destination Toledo and EPIC. 


Accessibility

Making sure that all individuals can enjoy a visit to the science center is important to us. We currently will make every accommodation possible for individuals with disabilities or language barriers. In the past, we have worked to provide guided tours, translators and guidance to anyone who has asked in advance. We have also provided training for our staff on working with people with disabilities, different nationalities and religions to ensure that those differences are not a barrier for anyone visiting the science center. A few of our temporary exhibitions we have brought to Toledo have been multilingual. For example, MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition was in both English and Spanish.

This summer, we are working with the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities to launch a pilot program. The program will run approximately nine weeks and be open to families that the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities serves as well as members and visitors to the science center. The program will promote large and small motor development in children ages 2 – 5 years, and it will incorporate our existing Science Story Time activities and literature connection.