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Learning Tools

For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2010

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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Learning Tools

Learning Tools

About the Exploratorium’s Publishing Program

Since the early days of the Exploratorium, we’ve reached out to people who are unable to visit the museum—or who want to revisit it—in a variety of ways. Among the many ways we do this is by offering engaging, informative publications. Below are  three of our most recent books. Below that, in the tabbed areas, are some of the publications we’ve produced, grouped by audience.

Featured Publications

The Exploratorium Science Snackbook

Our Teacher Institute created this unique, hands-on activity book that offers instructions for creating junior versions, or "snacks," of many of our exhibits. They can be used as classroom demos, labs, science projects, and more, and are easy to build with common materials.

The Math Explorer

Looking for a way to get middle schoolers interested in math? We created these games, puzzles, and science activities to help kids develop math skills while having fun. And you don’t have to be a math whiz yourself to do it!


Through experiments, observations, and explanations, Exploratopia shows kids, eight and older, how to explore the world around them, ask questions, and experiment to find the answers. This book has more than 400 activities that use simple, readily available materials making it ideal for families, homeschoolers, and teachers on a budget.

For Curious Adults

The Inquisitive Cook (Accidental Scientist) by Ann Gardiner, Sue Wilson, and the Exploratorium: Henry Holt and Company, 1998

The following are out of print, but you may be able to find them by searching online.

By Nature’s Design: An Exploratorium Book by Pat Murphy: Chronicle Books, 1993

The Color of Nature: An Exploratorium Book by Pat Murphy, Paul Doherty, William Neill: Chronicle Books, 1996

The Garden Explored (Accidental Scientist) by Mia Amato, and the Exploratorium: Henry Holt and Company, 1997

The Sporting Life (Accidental Scientist) by Susan E. Davis, Sally Stephens, and the Exploratorium: Henry Holt and Company, 1997

Watching Weather (Accidental Scientist) by Tom Murphree, Mary K. Miller, and the Exploratorium: Owl Publishing Company, 1998

Traces of Time: The Beauty of Change in Nature: An Exploratorium Book by Pat Murphy, Paul Doherty, William Neill, and Diane Ackerman: Chronicle Books, 2000

For Families and Kids

Exploratopia by Pat Murphy, Ellen Macauley, and the staff of the Exploratorium: Little, Brown and Company, 2006

The Math Explorer: Games and Activities for Middle School Youth Groups by Pat Murphy, Lori Lambertson, Pearl Tesler, and the Exploratorium: Key Curriculum Press, 2004

The Science Explorer by Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda Shore, and the staff of the Exploratorium: Exploratorium 2002

The following are out of print, but you may be able tolocate and purchase them by searching online.

Bending Light: An Exploratorium Toolbook by Pat Murphy, Paul Doherty, and Jenefer Merrill: Little, Brown and Company, 1993

Explorabook: A Kid’s Science Museum in a Book by John Cassidy and the Exploratorium: Klutz, 1991

Exploratorium: A Year of Discoveries by Ellen Klages and the Exploratorium: Chronicle Books, 1997

Glove Compartment Science by the Exploratorium: Klutz Press, 1999

Sparks & Zaps: Totally Shocking Science, The Wild Goose Company and the Exploratorium

The Brain Explorer: Puzzles, Riddles, Illusions, and Other Mental Adventures by Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda Shore, Pearl Tesler, and the Exploratorium: Henry Hold and Company, 1999

The Science Explorer Out and About by Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda Shore, and the Exploratorium: Owl Publishing Company, 1997

Zap Science: A Scientific Playground in a Book by John Cassidy and the Exploratorium: Klutz, 1997

For Educators

Exploratorium Guide to Scale and Structure: Activities for the Elementary Classroom by Barry Kluger-Bell and School in the Exploratorium: Heinemann, 1995

Human Body Explorations by Karen Kalumuck: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2000

Math and Science Across Cultures: Activities and Investigations from the Exploratorium by Maurice Bazin, Modesto Tamez, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: New Press, 2002

Square Wheels and Other Easy-to-Build, Hands-On Science Activities (An Exploratorium Science Snackbook) by Don Rathjen, Paul Doherty, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: Exploratorium, 2002

The Exploratorium Science Snackbook by the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: Jossey-Bass, 2009

The Math Explorer by Pat Murphy, Lori Lambertson, Pearl Tesler, and the Exploratorium: Key Curriculum Press, 2004

The following titles were earlier editions of The Exploratorium Science Snackbook: Jossey-Bass, 2009

Hands-On Science: A Teacher’s Guide to Student-Built Experiments and the Exploratorium Science Snackbook: Exploratorium, 1993

The Cheshire Cat and Other Eye-Popping Experiments on How We See the World by Paul Doherty, Don Rathjen, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: John Wiley & Sons, 1995

The Cool Hot Rod and other Electrifying Experiments on Energy and Matter by Paul Doherty, Don Rathjen, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: John Wiley & Sons, 1996

The Magic Wand and Other Bright Experiments on Light and Color by Paul Doherty, Don Rathjen, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: John Wiley & Sons, 1995

The Spinning Blackboard and Other Dynamic Experiments on Force and Motion (The Exploratorium Science Snackbook Series) by Paul Doherty, Don Rathjen, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute: John Wiley & Sons, 1996

Exploratorium Magazine, 1977–2003

The Exploratorium published a quarterly magazine (Exploring magazine) from 1997 to 2003. Each issue of the magazine was devoted to a single topic, which was examined from many different points of view. The style is whimsical, the content is solid, and there are lots of illustrations and activities to enjoy. The magazine is intended for nonscientists: the reading level is easy enough for middle school students, but the content is informative enough for any curious adult. Many of these are now out of print, but you can find some of them for sale in our store. http://store.exploratorium.edu/browse.cfm/2,70.html

For Museum Professionals

Informal Learning, Museums, Media, and Technology

Bevan, B.,“Starting with What We Know: a CILS Framework for Designing Virtual Informal Learning Environments,” in R. Subramaniam and T. Tan Wee Hin (Eds), E-Learning and Virtual Science Centres. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

Coleman, G., & Allen, S. (1998). Component Analysis of a Successful Multimedia Exhibit, Current Trends in Audience Analysis.

Fait, H., and Hsi, S. “From Playful Exhibits to LOM: Lessons from Building an Exploratorium Digital Library.” Proceedings from the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Denver. June 7–11, 2005.

Hsi, S,. and Fait, H. (under review) “RFID in Museums: Moving from Asset Management to Visitor Applications.” Communications of the ACM.

Hsi, S., Semper, R., Brunette, W., Rea, A., and Borriello, G. (2004) “eXspot: a Wireless RFID Transceiver for Recording and Extending Museum Visits.” Ubicomp 2004 Demonstrations program.

Hsi, S. (2003) The Electronic Guidebook: A Study of User Experiences Mediated by Nomadic Web Content in a Museum Setting. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning. September, Vol., 19 Issue 3, pp. 308–319

Hsi, S. (2004) I-Guides in Progress: “Two Prototype Applications for Museum Educators and Visitors Using Wireless Technologies to Support Informal Science Learning.” Proceedings from the Wireless Mobile Technologies in Education Conference, March 23–25, Jhong-Li, Taiwan.

Semper, R., and Wanner, N. (2000) Who's Out There? A Pilot User Study of Educational Web Resources by the Science Learning Network (SLN), Museums and the Web 2000. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2000/papers/semper/semper.html

Semper, R. J. (1998) Designing Hybrid Environments: Integrating Media into Exhibition Space. pp. 119–127 in The Virtual and the Real: Media in the Museum. Eds. Thomas, Selma, and Mintz, Ann. American Association of Museums.

Studies of Visitor Learning and Exhibits

Allen, S. (2005).Finding Significance: Left Coast Press, Inc.

Allen, S. “How Is Writing a Good Set of Questions Like Designing a Good Exhibit?” Visitor Studies Today! II(3).

Allen, S. (2004) Looking for Learning in Visitor Talk: A Methodological Exploration, pp. 259–303 In G. Leinhardt, K. Crowley. & K. Knutson (Eds.), Learning in Museums (pp.  259–303). Mahwah, NJ.

Allen, S. (1997). “Sociocultural Theory in Museums: Insights and Suggestions,” Journal of Museum Education, 22(2&3).

Allen, S. (2003). Studying Learning in Museums [Review of the book Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums]. American Journal of Psychology, fall, 488–494.

Allen, S. (1997) “Using Scientific Inquiry Activity in Exhibit Explanations.” Science Education, 81 (6), pp. 715–734

Garcia-Luis, V. & Allen, S. (1998). “Answering Visitors' Orientation Questions: an Evaluation of Two Sign Formats,” Current Trends in Audience Analysis

Gutwill-Wise, J. & Allen, S. (2002). Finding Significance: Testing Methods for Encouraging Meaning-making in a Science Museum. Current Trends in Audience Analysis.

Humphrey, Thomas, Gutwill, Joshua (2005). Fostering Active Prolonged Engagement: The Art of Creating APE Exhibits: Left Coast Press, Inc.

Informal Learning, Schools, and Teaching

Bevan, B. (2003). “Windows onto Worlds,” Museums Embracing Communities, published by The Field Museum.

Bevan, B., and Librero D. (2003). “The High School Explainer Program.” Museums Embracing Communities, published by The Field Museum.

Bevan, B., and Librero, D. “Youth Development and Museum Work,” Handbook for Small Science Centers, Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira.

Bevan, B., and Wanner, N. (2002) “Science Centre on a Screen.” International Journal of Technology Management. 25 (5): 427–440.

Bartels, D. “Classroom of the Future,” The Magazine of Design and Technology Education (September 2000). Ewing, NJ: The College of New Jersey.

Bartels, D. (1999) “Defining the Purpose and Place of the National Science Standards” in Inquiry: Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K–5 Classroom. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation.

Bartels, D. (2001) “On-Site Science: Why Museums, Zoos, and Other Informal Classrooms Need to be a Bigger Part of the Reform Equation.” Education Week (featured commentary), September 19, 2001, p. 45.

Bartels, D. “Science Centers and the Future of Educational Reform,” The Magazine of Design and Technology Education (May 2001). Ewing, NJ: The College of New Jersey.

Bartels, D. (1999) “Science Centers Should Embrace the Standards.” Invited editorial article in the ASTC Newsletter, January/February, 1999. vol. 27, no. 1. Washington, DC:  Association of Science-Technology Centers.

Bartels, D., Altmann, V., and Tamez, M. (2002) “Learning By Building (Tinkering and Destroying, Too)” in Science Communication in Theory and Practice. Editors S., Stocklmayer, M. M. Gore, and C. Bryant. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Finkelstein, D. (2005) “Science Museums as Resources for Teachers: An Exploratory Study on What Teachers Believe.” NARST conference paper.

Harlen, W., Ash D., Bartels, D., Bevan, B., Rankin L., and Tucker, L.  (2000) “Supporting Learning as Inquiry at the Elementary Level: the Role of Formative Assessment.” Paper presented at American Educational Research Association, New Orleans.

Librero, D. (1992) “Explainer Program at the Exploratorium.” ASTC Dimensions. May/June issue.

Librero, D. “Helping Young People Make Choices for the Long Run.” Curator: The Museum Journal. Vol. 48, Number 2. Altamira Press. pp. 129–133

Martin, L. (2004) An Emerging Research Framework for Studying Informal Learning and Schools, Science Education. Vol., 88, Issue S1, July, pages S71–S82, In Supplemental Issue Science Education: Perspectives on a Decade of Museum Learning Research (1994–2004)

Shore, L. (2001) “Cooking Up Science Education Reform – Or How Iron Chef became the Inspiration for the Exploratorium Teacher Institute,” pp. 7–11 (Exploratorium report).

Shore, L. (2001) “The Exploratorium Teacher Institute Beginning Teacher Program”

St. John, M., Heenan, B., Stokes, L., Hirabayashi, J., Dickey, K. (2001) The Exploratorium’s Institute for Inquiry Four Cornerstone Claims: A Summary of Evaluation Findings (1996–2000). Inverness Research Associates.

Shore, L., and Stokes, L. The Exploratorium Teacher Leadership Program: An Experiment in Discipline-Specific Teacher Induction. (Draft chapter in Subject-specific mentorship.)

Shore, L. (2001) The Exploratorium Teacher Institute: The Leadership Training and Support Program. Final report to NSF. Exploratorium report.

Other Related Exploratorium Publications

Carlson, C. (1997) “Diving into the Gene Pool, an Exhibition at the Exploratorium” in Here and Now: Contemporary Science and Technology in Museums and Science Centers. Eds. G. Farmelo and Carding, J.

Exploratorium Cookbook 1 by Raymond Bruman and the Exploratorium staff: Exploratorium, 1976, 1984, 1987, 1991

Exploratorium Cookbook 11 by Ron Hipschman and the Exploratorium staff: Exploratorium, 1980, 1983

Exploratorium Cookbook 111 by Ron Hipschman and the Exploratorium staff: Exploratorium, 1987, 1993

Outdoor Exploratorium www.exploratorium.edu/outdoor/about.php

Semper, R. J. (1990) "Science Museums as Environments for Learning" Physics Today; v43 n11, pp. 50–56, Nov. Abstract: Science museums have evolved into unique educational institutions with particular attributes for science learning that are hard to duplicate in almost any other setting.

The Turning Test: A New Approach to Evaluating Investments in Educational Capacity and Infrastructure-Assessing the Impact of the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry http://www.inverness-research.org/reports/ab_turingtst.html

Inquiry Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K–5 Classroom: A Monograph for Professionals in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education


Toward Best Practices: Conversations about Science Exhibition Development. Proceedings from NSF-sponsored workshop “Conference and Proceedings: Best Practices in Science Exhibition Development,” May 2004

Working Prototypes: Exhibit Design at the Exploratorium. ISBN: 0-943451-08-6.


Martin, L., Duensing, S., and Semper, R.J. (2004) “Funding and Institutional Issues Related to Public Understanding of Research” in Creating Connections: Museums and the Public Understanding of Current Research. Eds. David Chittenden, Graham Farmelo, and Bruce V. Lewenstein. Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press, 182–196.

Evaluation of Live @ the Exploratorium: Origins. Final project evaluation report. June 2004. http://www2.edc.org/CCT/publications_report_summary.asp?numPubId=188

Additional Research and Evaluation Publications and Reports

A variety of Visitor Research and Evaluation publications and reports are also available at http://www.exploratorium.edu/partner/visitor_research/reports.php

The following are out of print, but you may be able to find them by searching online.

Curious Alliance: The Role of Art in a Science Museum: Exploratorium, 1994

Enhancing Inquiry through Formative Assessment by Wynne Harlen: Exploratorium, 2004

When the Right Answer Is a Question by Ellen Klages: Exploratorium, 2002

Working Prototypes: Exhibit Design at the Exploratorium: Exploratorium, 1986


Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367