NIGHTSEA and U Montana spectrUM Discovery Area – Science … Try it!

Application Note #3 – NIGHTSEA helps U Montana’s exciting spectrUM Discovery Area uncover the hidden world of neuroscience

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spectrUM … Science … Try it!

spectrUM Discovery Area

The University of Montana (Missoula, Montana) takes science education seriously. In addition to providing science curricula for its own 14,000 students, UM has created the spectrUM Discovery Area, an energetic science outreach program for both the local and state-wide communities. spectrUM’s fixed locations on the University of Montana campus and in the heart of downtown Missoula combine with its mobile Montana spectrUM Science Experience (MosSE) to reach a rapidly expanding local and state-wide audience.

spectrUM is an interactive science museum, built for kids but with tremendous appeal for grown-ups and family. Students can explore spectrUM‘s exhibits through educator-guided field trips, after-school programming, and dynamic family science nights. Exhibits have been designed around state standards and center around topics such as neuroscience, nanotechnology, motion, health sciences, urban ecology, river dynamics, and much more. UM must be doing something right: spectrUM’s programming is now open five days a week, from 10AM until 5PM, and, between its museum and mobile programs, will exceed 50,000 visitors in 2013.

Unique to spectrUM is the BrainZone, a working lab collaboratively created and designed with spectrUM by UM’s Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. Funded by NIH and staffed by UM researchers and Missoula High School students, BrainZone provides interactive activities for kids of all ages to explore neuroscience. Experiments range from dissecting a sheep brain, to experimenting with optogenetics in which light is used to activate different brain circuits, to competing in a game involving donning a headset that will read their brain’s alpha waves and move a ball. The lab is the only one of its kind in the entire world.

“[Our] goal,” cites spectrUM’s director, Holly Truitt, “is to inspire kids to pursue higher education and perhaps careers in science, engineering, math or technology.”



See how spectrUM uses NIGHTSEA technology for neuroscience for young kids, older kids, and on the road