Stacy Molter: Exploring Science in Motion

One of my favorite perks of homeschooling is being able to immerse our kids in hands-on STEM learning, whether we’re on-site at an educational center or in our homeschool classroom. If you’re short on ideas for a hands-on learning activity in your classroom, visiting an educational center like Discovery Cube LA may be what you need to jump-start your own creative thinking.Exploring Science in Motion: Rolling Resistance

See also: Crime Scene Science – How to Dust for Fingerprints, Discovery Cube LA Opens New Exhibits

Today, we’re taking a tips we learned during a recent visit to Discovery Cube LA’s Science in Motion exhibit to study friction at home with this fun Rolling Resistance Experiment. What is friction? Friction is a force that resists motion between two objects when they come in contact with one another.

Exploring Science in Motion: Rolling Resistance

Exploring Science in Motion: Rolling Resistance


Don’t miss Discovery Cube LA’s Science in Motion, now through Sept. 11th, and Dora & Diego’s: Let’s Explore, now through Sept. 18th, before they’re gone!

Piece of sturdy cardboard or wood (size really isn’t all that important, but you want it to be at least 4” wide and 12” long)
Stack of hard cover books that add up to about 4” high (again, total height isn’t all that important, but you don’t want it to be too much higher or shorter than 4”)
Roll of wax paper
Roll of foil
Small ball or balls, such as tennis ball, baseball, bouncing ball, etc.
Masking tape
Stop watch
Measuring tape or ruler
Scrap paper

1. Create your ground surface by placing the top of the wood or cardboard near the edge of the stack of books.

2. Place a mark with a piece of tape on the ground at the bottom of your ramp. This will tell you where to position the ramp if it moves during your experiment, and will serve as the mark to stop the stopwatch at the end of the experiment. You may also want to mark a starting line to assure your ball releases at the same point each time.

3. Next, place the ball in the same spot near the top of the ramp, holding it in place. Swiftly lift your hand (do not push the ball), allowing the ball to roll down on its own. Note: If the ball seems to roll down the ramp too quickly or slowly, adjust the height of the ramp by adding or removing a book or books.

4. Create a chart to record your data. It might look something like this, but you can set it up however you would like this:


5. While holding the stopwatch, time how long it takes for the ball to travel down the ramp and hit the lower mark. Record the time on your chart.

6. Repeat the previous step twice, so you have a total of three trials using the cardboard surface for your ramp.

7. Cover your ramp with foil, taping it into place. Put the ramp in the same position you had it before (just behind the masking tape on the floor) and test how long it takes for your ball to travel down the ramp to the mark three times. Record the data in your chart.

Exploring Science in Motion: Rolling Resistance

8. Repeat this process a third time, but this time covering the ramp with wax or parchment paper.

Exploring Science in Motion: Rolling Resistance

9. Average the amount of seconds required for the ball to roll down the ramp for each surface. Calculate the speed of the ball by dividing the distance traveled by the average number of seconds needed.

Examine your results. Which surface did you initially think would be the fastest surface? Which surface actually proved to be the fastest?

Have fun with your experiment by adding additional elements and chart the outcomes.

– If you have a long area to do the experiment, create a distance experiment to see how far the ball travels with each surface.

– Without changing the length or height of the ramp, how could you modify it further and continue your investigation?

– Can you find a way to put “pot holes” in your ramp? Speed bumps? Something that might represent gravel or sand?

What were our results? You can find them below. As you can see, our third trials were the fastest. Can you guess why by looking at our photos? Well, we did our experiment outside on a windy day. If you do your experiment outdoors as well, don’t forget to factor in the weather.



Discovery Cube LA is located at 11800 Foothill Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91342. To learn more about Discovery Cube LA, their location and hours, and their current events, visit

We were invited by Discovery Cube LA to be an official Discovery Cube Mom Ambassador. Portions of the material and expenses for this event have been provided courtesy of Discovery Cube LA. All opinions are our own.

Mary Tran: Inside Discovery Cube’s Dora and Diego Exhibit

Mary Tran: Inside Discovery Cube’s Dora and Diego Exhibit

Even though my kids may have outgrown Dora and Diego, the Dora and Diego – Let’s Explore! exhibit was fun to explore. Plant flowers in Isa’s Flowery Garden, help Tico gather nuts at Tico’s Tree and Car, uncover pirate treasure at Piggies’ Pirate Ship, help baby animals in the Animal Rescue Center, line up the stars at Constellation, and help Dora and her friends pilot the Rocket Ship.

Discovery Cube OC Dora and Diego Explore Map Photo LetsPlayOC

Like the television series, the exhibit is designed to help children use eight different abilities proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner at Harvard University (verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, music/auditory, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, naturalistic, and interpersonal (social and self).

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Let's Explore Family Guide Photo LetsPlayOC

Family Guides:
Be sure to grab one of these Family Guides upon entering the exhibit! It is nicely illustrated to help families get the most out of the exhibit as well as exploring at home. What I like about the exhibit is that they have interactive components throughout the exhibit encouraging parents to be a part of the experience. For example, in Isa’s Flowery Garden, I saw a sign that said, “Grownups, help your child say it in English and Spanish,” and “Grownups, C’mon and play! Slide a puppet through the fence.”

Discovery Cube Dora and Diego Adult Interactive Play Photo LetsPlayOC
Piggies’ Pirate Ship: 
In the Pirate Ship, children can look through the telescope to spot the treasure chest, raise and lower the flag, dress like a pirate, and learn how to divvy up the coins into the Piggies’ banks.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Explorer Exhibit Pirate Piggie Ship Photo LetsPlayOC
Rocket Ship: 
Aboard the Rocket Ship to go back to the Purple Planet. Children can put on a spacesuit, pilot the ship, and test their memory to help Dora and Boots. On the way to the Purple Planet, Dora and Boots encounter interesting star groupings at Constellation. On the Purple Planet, children can climb inside and slide down to exit.

Discovery Cube Rocket Ship Purple Planet Photo LetsPlayOC

Tico’s Tree and Car: 
Tico is headed to a family picnic and needs help filling up his basket and car with nuts.

Discovery Cube OC Dora Diego Explore Tico's Tree and Car Photo (c) LetsPlayOC

Isa’s Flowery Garden: 
In the garden, Dora’s friend, Isa the Iguana, children can pick flowers and learn how to care for flowers, plants, and animals.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Explore Isa’s Flowery Garden Photo LetsPlayOC
Diego’s Animal Rescue Center: 
At the rescue center, children can learn how to care for rainforest animals (they are stuffed) by using the scanner beds, diagnosing the situation, cleaning the animals, and applying First Aid.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Animal Rescue Center Photo at LetsPlayOC

Rainforest Maze: 
Explore a rainforest to locate the animals while children can climb across Jaguar Mountain, swing across Bobo Brother’s monkey bars, and crawl through a fallen tree.
discovery cube jaguar mountain dora diego photo letsplayoc

Have fun,

Mary Tran: New Summer Exhibits at Discovery Cube OC: Extreme Dinosaurs and Hands-On Harley Davidson

Don’t want the kids sitting around all summer? Well, Discovery Cube OC has two new summer exhibits for hours of exploration and fun: Extreme Dinosaurs and Hands-On Harley Davidson. Your kids won’t want to leave this place!

Hands On Harley Davidson Exhibit Discovery Cube OC photo letsplayoc


Hands-On Harley Davidson

(May 28th – September 11, 2016)

Hop on a hog and ride as this interactive exhibit will have you Dream It, Build it, and Ride it! Young engineers can learn about engine parts, flare out their ride with flames and logos, learn about traffic safety, and more! My little one shows us all the different ways you can test acceleration, speed, friction, and gravity in the engineering lab.

Extreme Dinosaurs

(May 28th – September 5, 2016)
Stomp into the prehistoric world of Extreme Dinosaurs. With 17 life-sized featured dinosaurs including some of the newest finds from the “Golden Age” of paleontology, this interactive exhibit will give you a better understanding of these Wonders of the World. Dig for fossils, observe their movements, study their skeletons, or take a quiz, you’ll want to push all the buttons on the touch panels. Watch the virtual tour below!
Don’t forget the other permanent exhibits at Discovery Cube offering hours and hours of fun. There’s the Eco Challenges, Dino Quest, Helicopter Tour, Mission Control, Water Gallery, Planetary Research Station, Science of Hockey, Inspector Training Course, Healthy Kitchen, and more! Get out there and have fun this summer. For more detailed information about the exhibits, please visit Discovery Cube’s website at
Discovery Cube Orange County
2500 N. Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
Discovery Cube OC Extreme Dinosaurs Exhibit Photo at LetsPlayOC

Liz Cerezo: Summer 2016 at Discovery Cube

The long dog days of summer is hitting us hard, here in SoCal. If I dare ask, what have you been up to? Are you keeping busy with the kids? We’ve done a few things, here and there, but it’s the days in between here-and-there, that are driving me bananas! Some of the kids’ friends have been asking to play with my kids (YEAH!!!) so, they’ve been having a lot of playdates. My son will soon leave for Boy Scout camp and then, believe it or not, it will be time to start school shopping. Oh, that seems so far away….

Discovery Cube hopes to ease some of the summer boredom by having several exciting exhibits that were made to keep little minds busy. So, what do dinosaurs and motorcycles have in common? Oooh, a lot when you visit Discovery Cube!

Extreme Dinosaurs
Calling all dino explorers and paleontologists! Make your way to the Cube OC and let’s go on a dinosaur adventure. 17 animatronic dinosaurs will roar, snarl, move their limbs. It’s a little intense. I saw little, little ones running away, crying. So, just keep that in mind. Take a look:




Hands-On Harley Davidson
Get your motors runnin’… you know the rest. I don’t know if this is actually for the kids or moms and dads that love Harleys. This Hands-On Harley-Davidson™ exhibition. This interactive experience illustrates science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts through a one-of-a-kind exhibit that lets kids Dream It! Build it! … and Ride It! Take a look:




Hands-on Harley Davidson is now open and runs through September 11!

On top of all that, the whole museum is bursting with educational and exciting exhibits that are made for a full day of fun. The whole experience is fun for the whole familia to learn. For tickets, hours and directions, visit the Discovery Cube OC site. If you’re on social media, follow the fun on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Liz Cerezo: Inventors Week at Discovery Cube OC!

Calling all budding tweakers and inventors! Discovery Cube wants you! Inventors Week is going on now and if you have little ones who absolutely love to tinker with stuff or like asking questions about how things work, this is one event you cannot miss. Discovery Cube is hosting a full week of tinkering, building, and exploring while learning about electronic and robotic principles that every inventor and engineer should know!

Liz 1

This weekend is the last weekend to attend. The Meet the Makers Weekends , July 9 & 10, is when kids and of course, adults get to meet with some real inventors and engineers! Last weekend, my daughter and I had the chance to check things out. Take a look:

Liz 2

Liz 3

Liz 4

Liz 5

Liz 6

This was by far the best table, according to my daughter. She actually got to play the notes on the laptop piano, just by holding the leads you see in the picture. She learned that not all objects are able to carry electrical currents. Umm, yeah! that’s a potato and a ball of playdoh!

Check out the weekend activities:

Friday, July 8

Blind Children Center (10am-5pm)
AirWolf 3D (10am-3pm)

Saturday, July 9
Wolf Corp. Robotics (11am-1pm)
Blind Children Center (10am-5pm)
R2D2 Club (11am-3pm)
OC Scroll Saw Association (11am-3pm)
Matter Hackers (11am-3pm)
OC Module Railroaders Inc. (10am-5pm)

Sunday, July 10
OC Scroll Saw Association (11am-3pm)
OC Module Railroaders Inc. (10am-5pm)

After the rush of the holiday weekend, take the kids to revive their summer lagged brain and of course, release some energy  at the place that’s meant to be played with and explored.

The whole experience is fun for the whole familia to learn. For tickets, hours and directions, visit the Discovery Cube OC site. If you’re on social media, follow the fun on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Kara Noel Lawson: Oh Hey, It’s Inventors Week at the Cube

We spent our morning being engineers during Inventors Week at the Cube! This event runs through July 10th. The focus of Inventors Week is to tinker, build, and explore while learning about electronic and robotic principles, every inventor needs to know!

Kara 1

Scattered throughout The Cube are tables, manned by one of their amazing associates. Each station has a hands-on experiment or activity for the kids to try. And the associates do mini science presentations. I am always SUPER impressed with the way the associates patiently answer questions from my kids. The Cube really knows how to pick friendly folks!

Kara 2

We had three favorite stations: conductors, snap circuits and exploding legos!

Kara 3

Tess can’t stop talking about how she “played a potato!”

We really loved the Brain Builders area upstairs. Little Inventors can build LEGO creations then use a cannon to blow them up.

Kids loved it.
I wonder why? (sarcastic tone)

kara 5

I was shocked at how much my kids liked doing this Snap Circuits Discovery Kit. They loved it! And I loved how easy it was to use.

Kara 6


Kara 8

We are going to try to go back on July 7th (1pm) for a live video conference with NASA.
NASA!! What?!?!!?

The kids will learn about the Orion and Space Launch System missions and how NASA plans to explore areas of space that more than 40,000 miles beyond the moon! An engineer from the Ground Systems Development and Operations team at Kennedy Space Center will be available by video conference to answer questions about upcoming deep space operations.

How awesome is that!?!?!?

I hope you guys can check out Inventors Week!

I’ll be taking over the social media for The Cube on Friday the 8th (Squeeeee…) and I’ll share our slow motion video from our LEGO explosions. And I wouldn’t want to get ahead of myself or anything… but we really can’t wait for this…

Kara 7

Pattie Cordova: Inventors Week at Discovery Cube OC

We spent our Saturday morning celebrating the start of Inventors Week at Discovery Cube OC. We were there bright and early at 10 a.m. to make sure that we would visit all the stations.

Pattie 1

Neither the kids nor I had ever been to Inventors Week before so we took the opportunity to use our yearly membership and check it out. The first floor has tables with Discovery Cube volunteers and scientists.

pattie 2
We got the chance to try out circuit boards and learn about electricity. The gal helping us out took time to explain to us how the circuit boards work and even let us do a couple of different variations.

pattie 3

pattie 4

The kids got a big kick out of making music from potatoes, bagels and metal. They used an activity kit called Makey Makey. They liked it so much that I’m going to get the kit for them on Amazon later. Using Makey Makey, they can not only make music, but they can also program other functions – and even play Tetris!

Pattie 5

We also went upstairs and ran into Brain Builders. They’re located in Laguna Niguel, but also visit local schools. There, we were able to build LEGO creations and then blow them up. It was so cool!!!

pattie 7

pattie 8

Inventors Week at Discovery Cube OC runs July 2nd through July 10th! Visit the cube and get hands-on demonstrations and stage shows. It’s a great way to keep the kids busy and have them learn a thing or two as well!

Jessica Fuselier: Get a Science Lesson this Summer at Discovery Cube!

There’s a ton of fun to be had at the Discovery Cube Los Angeles this Summer. Bonus: each time you’ll go, you family is sure to get a healthy dose of education. We visited the Cube recently and spent the day laughing and learning with some friends. Exciting news: Just in time for summer, there are two new exhibits just waiting to be explored.
It’s a cool way to spend a hot day, so schedule your summer play dates now!Discovery-Cube-Los-Angeles-Summer

Dora and Diego: Let’s Explore – May 28 – September 18, 2016
If you have a Dora or Diego fan in your house then they are going to love this new exhibit! Bring your preschoolers to a place where they will feel right at home, located in the Early Learning Zone. (For the 5 and under guests) It was great to visit with old friends like Boots, Benny, Tico and even Swiper. This is an an experience for the younger set of explorers.
Children will get to Journey to the Purple Planet on the Rocket Ship, see Tico’s Nutty Forest and ride in his car, walk through Isa’s Flowery Garden, sail on Pirate Piggies’ Ship, trek through the Rainforest Maze, and help save animals at the Animal Rescue Center. Make sure to meet Dora and get a photo (or selfie) with her before you go.
Speed: Science of Motion  May 28 – September 11, 2016
Put the petal to the metal and get down to the Discovery Cube this summer to experience Speed: Science of Motion. If cars are what you’re into this fast paced exhibit is perfect speed for you. There is so much to learn at this high-octane display filled with hands-on action Go from zero to sixty instantly where you don’t have to hit the brakes! Learn all about the cutting edge technology and science behind professional motor sports. We raced cars at the race track, changed tires at the workshop, built engines at the fitness center, and competed in virtual racing. All signs point point to go at the Speed: Science of Motion exhibit all summer long!
Speed_Exhibit_Discovery_Cube F355-Ferrari-Challenge-Discovery-Cube Car_Engine_Discovery_Cube Collisions_Discovery_Cube
‘Science is my Thing’ Summer Camp

Did you know that you can send your kids to Discovery Cube for Summer Camp? Visit Discovery Cube LA in order to take advantage of all that their exhibits have to offer! For ages 7-10 it’s the perfect way to submerge your child in a fun filled week of science. This year’s theme is “Science Is My Thing.” For future inventors and scientists alike it’s a great way to encourage young minds. You can enroll if you’re a member or not.

2016 Summer Camp Dates: 
7/11-7/15, 7/18-7/22 7/25-7/29, 8/1-8/5
Times: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Price: $190


Jasmine Forte: Helicopter Tours at Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Climb aboard and fasten your seat belts for a ride on the helicopter simulator at Discovery Cube Los Angeles!



Get ready to soar over California as we follow our water system. Our tour begins in Los Angeles and will take us all the way to Mt. Whitney where snow is a reservoir of fresh water. The water then travels down through creeks and streams into Grand Lake


From here, The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power collects some of the water into pipes then diverts the water over 300 miles away into Los Angeles.


This exhibit is a hit with both children and adults. As the helicopter takes flight, passengers are sure to enjoy the thrill of the journey from start to finish. Rest assured you are in safe hands with the DCLA Helicopter Tours Crew!

For more on our adventures at Discovery Cube Los Angeles, visit:

Ready, Set, Explore at Discovery Cube Los Angeles!
Discover the Science of Gingerbread!
Halloween Fun with Spooky Science!
Meet Curious George at Discovery Cube LA!
Beat the Heat at Discovery Cube Los Angeles & Hansen Dam!
A Summer of Discovery at Discovery Cube LA!

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342

Laura Clark: Dora, Diego & Fast Cars Speed Over to Discovery Cube Los Angeles


There are two new interactive exhibits for kiddos at Discovery Cube Los Angeles, and we got to check them out last weekend!

Dora and Diego: Let’s Explore!, which runs through September 18, brings kids face to face with Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego, who loves rescuing animals. Kids can explore exhibits including Tico’s Tree, where kids can help gather nuts. (Will loved this one!) They can also take an imaginary spin in his yellow car.



There’s also Isa’s Flowery Garden, where kids can pick soft fabric flowers and even put on a pair of butterfly wings.


The activities don’t stop there! Kids can even burn some calories on the rock climbing wall in Diego’s Rainforest Maze. (Both Will and CC loved this one. It’s very toddler-friendly and wasn’t as tall as the rock wall in the main part of the museum.)

There was also the Purple Planet slide and the Rocket Ship, where kids can push buttons and play games, all while feeling as if they’ve boarded a ship to the stars.


Next up was Speed: Science in Motion, which runs through September 11. You can imagine how much CC and Will loved getting into race cars and pretending they were going a bazillion miles per hour (that was very scientific, I know. 🙂 while watching a simulated screen of their driving.

In this exhibit, kids can check out the science behind Formula One cars and even pretend they’re at a virtual race where they need to quickly change a tire.


Kids also get a sense of the parts of the engine on these types of cars and get to explore the laws of motion by pushing a ball down two different tracks.

And, of course, there are hands-on demos that invite kids to come up and test out the laws of physics for themselves, as well as ask and answer questions.


We had a great time, and as we were walking to the car Will asked, “Can we come back tomorrow?”

Always a good sign!

11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $17.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids. Kids ages 2 and under are free.






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