EmPower Place is a hands-on family learning center that brings together science exhibits, University of Montana role models, library books, activities, and free snacks. Located at Missoula Food Bank, EmPower Place is a collective impact effort by spectrUM, Missoula Food Bank, and Missoula Public Library. EmPower Place is powered by the City of Missoula, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
We strive to educate and encourage critical thinking in all activities we do, whether it is for science or for art. We have activities scheduled almost every day of the week. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays we have our after-school programing called the After-School Clubhouse, which includes a cooking class, a game day, and a science making & tinkering day.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Missoula Public Library hosts its Tiny Tales programming in our space in the morning. Tiny Tales is a program where a library employee will sit down and read children’s books and sing songs that the kids love. On Fridays we have a different guided art project where kids can explore the ideas ranging from what a water shed is, to making valentines cards for refugees living in Missoula.
Science Tuesday:Every week at EmPower we spend our Tuesday morning learning about a new science topic by doing a variety of activities. Each month we have a theme, and February’s theme was Love Our Neighbors. This month we had hygiene, neurons and brains, and blood typing and hearts.
Making & Tinkering Thursdays:
On Thursdays our After-school Clubhouse hosts a spectrUM discovery area Making & Tinkering activity. One day this month we made a giant cardboard castle using no scissors or tape. It even had a functional draw bridge to cross our moat.
These weekly science/making & tinkering activities really make the kids think outside the box and problem solve a whole host of potential problems that can come up in science. The activates usually include a team work component so that everyone can work together to solve the problem at hand. We have made giant soccer balls out of straws, hoverboards, and bouncy rockets this month, in addition to the card board castle.