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Science Education

Science on the Road

A Partnership with the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh

Partnering with PPG Industries, Carnegie Science Center’s Science on the Road programs visit area elementary schools and provide action-packed science programs that include hands-on demonstrations for students in elementary and middle school.

“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in the communities where PPG has a presence,” says Sue Sloan, executive director of the PPG Industries Foundation. “We’re strategic about how we do that, and education is our main focus, particularly in science and technology. So, what better place for us to do this than at Carnegie Science Center?” 

Wild by Design: Innovations from A to Zoo (2013)

“Wild by Design: Innovations from A to Zoo” is a collaborative effort between PPG Industries, the Carnegie Science Center and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “Wild by Design” is a “Science on the Road” program that will reach hundreds of elementary students in the Pittsburgh region beginning in Fall 2013 with interactive experiments and exciting video.

“Wild by Design” explores the science of biomimetics, which is technology imitating life and how humans can mimic the best structures and systems in nature to build better robots, create better coatings, use energy more efficiently and more. For example, the wing structure and flight patterns of turkey vultures inspired the Wright brothers’ airplane wings. The slinky-like arrangement of muscles in the trunks of elephants helped researchers improve the flexibility and range of motion in robots.

Travel Back in Time to Save the Planet with Captain Green (2009)

Launched in 2009, Captain Green’s Time Machine focuses on teaching elementary and middle school students about energy and the environment. Employees from PPG collaborated with the Carnegie Science Center to develop the program and materials. Clyde Warren, made an honorary "admiral" by the program creators, was one of many PPG employees who contributed their time to develop the program, is very proud of PPG’s outreach and support in creating programs that take science directly to the schools. “It gets kids to explore ideas and directly exposes them to science,” he said. “Captain Green’s van is a great example of that.”

Captain Green’s van, customized with the theme of the show, runs on bio-diesel fuel and will travel to area schools that have scheduled a presentation. Bio-diesel is manufactured from vegetable oils such as canola, soybean and sunflower and burns cleaner than petroleum.

According to Marilyn Fitzsimmons, Education Coordinator for the Carnegie Science Center, “Because we see more than half a million kids at Carnegie Science Center each year and reach out to another 225,000 through Science on the Road, we know these types of programs have an enormously positive impact on students,” she said. “This year’s program, Captain Green’s Time Machine, is all about energy and environment. Each segment teaches students about sustainable energy and how our activities can and will impact the environment.”

Captain Green’s Time Machine travels to area schools throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York and is available as two programs a 60-minute assembly presentation and an all-day Eco-Adventure for a full-day experience that reinforces the concepts of conservation, climate change, and sustainability through hands-on activities that illustrate the history and science of climate change.

“PPG is pleased to support a program that helps students understand science and technology while providing them with a fun and unforgettable experience. We think this program will have an enormous impact in helping to inspire tomorrow’s scientists,” Sloan added.

Carnegie Science Center's 'Ion Jones' swings into action (2008)

"Ion Jones and the Lost Castle of Chemistry,” conceived and developed by Science Center in 2008, is a high-energy, interactive multimedia show that teams participants with chemistry adventurer “Ion Jones” (a parody of the "Indiana Jones" movie hero) and real PPG scientists on a global quest to understand how chemistry affects industry, biology, technology, and the environment.

Children learn about viscosity as part of their science show. PPG scientists and engineers enjoy sharing their expertise and experiences in support of these programs with the hope that the young people who see the presentations will be inspired to pursue careers in science and engineering. It’s been a win-win partnership for everyone involved.


There's more to know about the PPG Industries Foundation - check out ppgfoundation.com