Learning can be a blast with the Edgerton Explorit Center.
The center, based in Aurora, brought hands-on learning and fun together Friday at its Explorit Zone at the Lincoln County Fair.
“With Doc Edgerton, his thing is you don’t know you’re learning when you’re playing,” said Deb Miller, “mad scientist” and educator at the Edgerton Explorit Center. “You pick up things, you’re playing along, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, I did learn something from that and I didn’t even know it.’”
Harold “Doc” Edgerton was an Aurora native known for developing electronic flash photography, the strobe light and side scan sonar. The center, named after him, is carrying on his legacy by advancing students’ knowledge in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics through fun-filled experiences.
In the Explorit Zone, people can interact with items demonstrating things like magnetism, gravity and balance. Its demonstrations and labs narrow in on specific topics. Friday had four scheduled labs — Amazing Bubbles, Arctic Blast, Slime and Spaceflight Explorers.
Miller said the slime lab is very popular, partially because the kids get to make the slime and take it home with them.
The demonstrations are geared toward different age groups and school standards for that age. For instance, the bubble show appeals more to younger kids. But each show can be enjoyed at any age.
The Arctic Blast demonstration focuses on states of matter, explaining gas, liquid and solid, while also showing the differences through the use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice. The Spaceflight Explorers demonstration shows how people could live in space, and it ends with a hydrogen explosion.
The Edgerton Explorit Center has reached thousands of kids a year through its statewide outreach at schools as well as county fairs. At each interaction, kid or adult, everyone is learning, even the workers.
Miller told a story about a school visit where she was swinging a kendama — a cup-and-ball skill toy — when a third grader walked up and quickly succeeded in one try.
“So I learned from that and it was amazing,” Miller said. “You’re never too old to learn something.”
At the fair Saturday, the Explorit Zone is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with four scheduled labs: Arctic Blast at 11 a.m.; Spaceflight Explorers, 1 p.m.; Soda Can Catapult, 3 p.m.; and Amazing Bubbles, 4 p.m.