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Part science museum, part retail space, and part community center, Helix engages with local schools and neighborhood groups to develop programs and events for all ages that reflect the unique character and needs of Los Altos and its surrounding communities.

Despite my better judgment, I invite TI staff educator Eric Muller to do one more set of activities—several things you can do with soda straws.

Cheer on the competitors in this zany science cook-off. Teachers compete before a live audience at the Exploratorium for the revered title, "Iron Science Teacher." This week's secret ingredient: batteries.

TI staff educator Eric Muller hits me up for change, and then demonstrates a neat science activity using dry ice.

An introduction to the cuica (pronounced KWEE-kah), a small friction drum used in Brazil's Carnival parade.

A detailed demonstration of how to make this small friction drum, including a discussion of materials needed and how different kinds of materials make for cuicas that produce different sounds.

The science behind this musical instrument, including the concepts of sound, vibration, resonance, and amplification.

An introduction to a crowd-pleasing noisemaker called a sound sandwich, which you can adjust to raise or lower its pitch.

A detailed demonstration of how to make this primitive wind instrument using little more than a straw, two craft sticks, and some rubber bands.

The science behind this instrument, including a discussion of how vibration produces sound, and how long, massive objects vibrate slowly and produce a low-pitched sound, while shorter, less massive objects vibrate quickly and produce a high-pitched sound.