In a letter from 1675, Isaac Newton penned his famous dictum, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” That’s the spirit that animates the Milestones School Lab. It introduces two major scientists from the past, such as Isaac Newton or Alessandro Volta, and then leads students through some of their key experiments. The “Opticks” and “Electricity” programs complement school curricula and are aimed at students from 5th to 10th grade. They expand on concepts introduced in other parts of Science Center Spectrum.
Performing experiments with replicas built on the basis of laborious research in original sources is a special experience. While using this equipment, students must confront the same challenges faced by scientists of the past. They work with standard materials of the time like lycopodium powder and resin. In addition, they consult written sources, such as letters and descriptions, which shed light on the scientists’ life and work. By seeing how ideas and insights were exchanged, they also develop an understanding for how scientific communication worked in the past.