RACE A cheetah in small-town Tennessee? That sounds like a wild and winning feature from an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos!” Luckily, for everyone’s safety and livelihood, the cheetah is not real. And, other than proud and beaming parents filming their children zooming across the floors at the Hands-On Science Center (HOSC), there is no actual video footage either! What is real, however, is the existence of a place within Tullahoma city limits where learning is fun-filled and a downright adventure! If you have yet to make your way to HOSC, you are missing out!
The Hands-On Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It was established 26 years ago to aid early childhood development and education. A significant thought behind the center, that has been carried over to the present day, is to teach science to adolescents in such a way that peaks and holds interest in their minds! Founding HOSC members, as well as current staff members, all share the desire to instill in young learners a love for science that lasts a lifetime. How can we develop world leaders in such a competitive and complex field of study? We help them discover a passion for learning by making science fun and exciting.
In fact, the HOSC motto is “where learning is fun.” With over 100 exhibits covering topics such as electricity, aerodynamics, geology, sound, light, and ocean life, everyone in your crew is guaranteed to find something of interest. The center even has a mini glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golf room. What more could a kid want? Or, more realistically, what more could a middle-aged dad want? In addition to the fairly new golf room, the HOSC staff anticipates adding nine more exhibits, a jungle-themed classroom, a space-themed classroom, an outdoor classroom, and a dinosaur-themed toddler area in 2022 alone. Tullahoma citizens should feel extremely lucky to have HOSC in the community. It provides a safe place to visit on sunny or rainy weather days. While there are no age requirements for admission, the HOSC exhibits are geared towards 2-year-olds to 16-year-olds.
The HOSC staff has influence well beyond the threshold of the center’s front doors. They periodically visit school assemblies, churches, and public libraries to host science shows. These shows are a part of their program formally referred to as the “Visiting Wizards” program. They are both educational and entertaining and cover a wide variety of subjects. The liquid nitrogen and the camping in nature shows are two fan-favorites! Another way HOSC’s impact extends beyond its facility is by providing take-home science kits each month. The kits, geared towards children ages 5 to 13, are free. These kits are full of supplies and instructions needed to perform a science experiment of some sort. The kits were sunflower growing kits this last month, just in time for Spring!
The HOSC facility, its programs, and staff members are supported solely by funds received from grants or donations. Admission prices at the facility only cover a portion of the operating costs, so they are always looking for new partners in the mission! For more information, visit hosc. org or the HOSC Facebook page facebook. com/HandsOnScienceCenter. -GN