How & Why

How & Why Gallery

A major focus of the Children's Museum of St. Tammany (CMST) curriculum that drives the exhibits and learning is based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities that engage children through discovery, exploration and creation.

Visitors explore the big questions about their world, both natural and man-made. They tackle challenges and solve problems to discover answers. Through exploration and activities in How & Why, guests discover fundamental principles in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through inquiry-driven, hands on activities, problem solving and physical modeling. The giant Globe is a museum icon and launches the exhibit focus of "Get Global". Experience activities at Get Global, WATERworks, Magnetic Ball Wall, RIGAMAJIG or Build Your Own Roller Coaster.

Targeted Ages: Children 2 to 10

Goals and opportunities for learning:

  • Discover fundamental STEM principles through inquiry-driven, hands-on activities
  • Solve problems using simulation and physical models
  • Explore water's properties and the connection to their everyday life
  • Explore geographic systems and use imagination to see the world and the universe

The world is a big place for little people and this 6-foot globe will be no exception. As the centerpiece of our How & Why Gallery, visitors will learn about our Earth from many different perspectives: the planet, geographical features, cultures, weather patterns, the environment and as a launching pad for many learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. Visitors are able to get global and learn about the earth, visualize the axis of the earth, view names and locations of the different oceans, continents, and countries and capitals. Visitors can interact by assisting in the search for different time zones, locating places on the globe and learn the perspective of their place in the world. Today's learner is living in a global community and this exhibit will bring the world literally to their fingertips.

Both children and adults delight in creating their own giant ball wall configurations. A large assortment of magnetic ramps, shoots, spinners, tubes and other contraptions provide guests with the tools for a truly memorable experience. The educational value of this highly interactive exhibit is without limit. Potential and kinetic energy, friction, inertia and gravity are concepts that come to life for the young engineer on the Magnetic Ball Wall.

This collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts, and rope allows engineers to follow their curiosity through play. Engaging the inquisitive mind and creative spirit, RIGAMAJIG empowers visitors to think three dimensionally, building and playing collaboratively. The solid wood planks allow guests to build things and bring imagination to reality. There are no right or wrong answers; the act of playing and building is the goal, not the finished product. Builders familiarize themselves with the scale and weight of working with wood.

If you drop a ball from a certain height, it will always fall straight down. If you roll a ball across a floor, it will always go in a straight line, unless some other force comes along to act upon it. If you roll a ball along a track, you can get it to move in different ways depending on how you arrange the track. A very popular activity in children's museums and science centers, the Roller Coaster will explain how roller coasters work, the laws of physics, gravity, friction, conservation of energy, kinetic and potential energy, acceleration and deceleration and g-force principles. This exhibit appeals to the early learners and adults.