Human Body Experience @ Science Centre Singapore

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Some of my ex-students will probably remember this video (sorry, I realize the video can't be seen on some browsers) where Ch answered my questions about the circulatory system when she was 3 years old. I believe children should be exposed to Science from young as the subject is filled with interesting information which, when fed in bite sizes, will stay in a child's memory for a very long time. 

My attempt to teach Ch
about her organs.

I heard about the new Science Centre exhibition called the Human Body Experience (HBX) from Ch - that it allows us to walk into a human body sculpture to explore the fascinating systems we have. Imagine an indoor theme park all about Science! What an excellent way to experience fun facts about our human body and be able to have sensory play at the same time!

Main entrance of the HBX
We got our tickets from the main ticketing counter and proceeded to Hall B where we were greeted by a humongous face with a big mouth. Do take note that you need to inform the ticketing staff if you want to visit the HBX as the standard ticket to the Science Centre does not include this exhibition. L started getting nervous about the whole experience and almost didn't want to enter. We had to assure him that we will stay with him throughout the journey. This is why it is not advisable for children under five to enter as they may be scared by the dark areas, loud sounds, confined spaces and dramatic structures. After much persuasion, L nervously crawled up the giant tongue.

Human Body Experience @ Science Centre Singapore by Simply Lambchops
Prepare to be swallowed alive!

After trekking up the tongue, we had to slide down the throat to reach the larynx. Inside the voice box, we had fun making music with the membranes of the vocal cords to hear sounds of different pitch. 

Tip: to help your child relate the sensory experience with his own body, 
get him to place his hand on his own vocal cords and say "um". Let him feel the vibrations made by his vocal cords. Then get him to press on the 'vocal cords' of the exhibition. This will strengthen his learning of the larynx.

Notice the 'cilia' hanging down
the passageway?
Respiratory system
Ch and L acted as germs to attack and punch the lungs. Maybe they were relating to K's pneumonia episodes? It was hypnotizing to see the lungs getting inflated and deflated, and to hear the breathing sound from the speakers as we breathe. 

From the lungs, we proceeded to the alveolar sacs where we saw the grape-like alveoli and the network of blood vessels. Here, we had to weave in between the blood vessels and the only helpline we had in this dark room was the small lights that guided our path towards the cardiovascular system. 
Tip:  If you have some Biology knowledge of how the gas exchange takes place in the alveoli, this is a great chance to describe it to your kiddos as they imagine the process with the visuals surrounding them.

Cardiovascular system
Over at the cardiovascular system, the loud "lub dub" of the heart (too loud for my kids) got the kids very anxious during our first round there (did I mention that the tickets allow two rounds of the exhibition?) and they kept hurrying me to get out. L even said "Mommy, can you go? Why do you keep taking so many photos??!!" Fortunately, they loosened up after that, and I was able to hang around in this chamber longer during the second round. Ch and I bounced on those big red balls that represent red blood cells while L took photos of our silly looks (heh, do you think I'll show you my silly face here?) 

Biconcave-shaped red blood cells
and white blood cells on the walls.
Too noisy for the kids. They just
wanted to get out of here!

Immune system
It was a pity that we didn't realise we were supposed to function as white blood cells to fight the viruses on the walls, even though there were hints of rod-shaped bacilli and spherical cocci hanging above us. The "whack-a-mole" play concept here would be an exciting play area for the kids!

Nervous system
We explored the giant inflatable brain and learnt about the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Ch was intrigued by the fact that about 90% of the human population are right-handers, meaning that their left brain is probably more dominant . 

Relaxing in front of the giant jelly brain

Inside the brain
From the brain, we went on to a small and dark section which have beautifully-crafted neurons. This is literally a pop-up version of those images I showed my Bio students when I taught the human nervous system.

The brain's ability to hold our memories is represented by a mirrored room with flashing LED lights to give a dream-like optical illusion. It almost felt like we were suspended in a large empty space with nothing but stars.

Digestive system
One of the main highlights of the HBX exhibition is the digestive system - one of my favorite Bio topics to teach. When I learnt this topic as a student, one of the things I did to help me remember the massive amount of facts was to keep talking about the various processes that take place in the digestive system as I ate my food. And I did this frequently enough to make me remember the facts till now. But with the HBX, it makes visualization of the digestion system and the functions of the organs easier!

We had to squeeze through the muscles of the oesophagus while walking on soft, squishy grounds. The squishy grounds extend all the way from the oesophagus to the large intestines. The kids had fun imagining they were food boluses and jumped and tossed around. We also got sprayed by mist that represent gastric juices from the stomach. The most fun part was squeezing through the sphincter muscles to get into the intestines. The inflatable structures would balloon up when we approach it (is there a sensor somewhere?) and L even needed Ch to help him squeeze through. 

Pushing against the ''muscles" of the oesophagus!
We had to use a lot of force to squeeze through!
Be warned of the sudden spray of mist which represents the gastric juices. 
Tactile surfaces that resemble the folds in the stomach. This is like a giant stomach castle and we had a great time
bouncing here!
Squeezing through the sphincter
muscles into the small intestines.
Girl power to help the brother
squeeze through!

Do you spot the "faeces" on the
intestinal walls?
L giving me a hand to pull me
through the sphincter muscles.

Getting out of the exhibition was as interesting as how we egest our undigested matter from our rectum. We had to squeeze through the inflatable balloons  that represent the anal sphincter muscles! After we left the HBX, while L was in the toilet, he chuckled and said that he was squeezing out his "poo poo" just like how he squeezed out of the HBX!

Other than the multi-sensory fun learning at the HBX, you can also pick up facts about the human body from Professor X who appears on a mounted frame to give a brief description of the organ system you are at. 

Some points to take note if you want to visit the HBX:
  1. Please wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear as there are some physical elements and unsteady grounds. 
  2. Bags are not allowed in the HBX. You can keep your things in the lockers provided nearby. 
  3. Flash photography is not allowed. 
  4. There are exit points in the HBX should you feel uncomfortable and want to end your experience. 
  5. The HBX will be closed for maintenance on the following dates: 

    • 21 and 22 Jul 2014
    • 18 Aug 2014
    • 15 Sept 2014
    • 20 Oct 2014
    • 17 Nov 2014
    • 15 Dec 2014
I will also be giving Ch and L some age-appropriate worksheets to enhance their learning at the HBX. If you would like to have them too, do email me at simplylambchops@gmail(dot)com.

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  1. Such a cool exhibit! The brain area reminds me of 'Inside Out'. Haha! I noticed this is an old post. Do you know if it is still showing at Science Centre?

  2. Woah this is sooo interesting!! Very cool.

  3. Looks interesting! One of our bubbas went and had such a great time!


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