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Solo Mom: We 'got Gerboized' at the Museum of Life and Science

Posted March 11, 2014

Artist Steve Gerberich, whose Springs, Sprockets and Pulleys exhibit closed at the Museum of Life and Science last week, helps with the construction of a Ferris wheel.

Steve Gerberich's "Springs, Sprockets and Pulleys" is a fascinating exhibit of moving parts built from repurposed treasure.

The exhibit ran at the Museum of Life and Science until this past weekend. My kids were mesmerized, trying to follow the course of which piece made the next one move, and what happens when a button is pushed or a dial is turned.

What kid doesn't love creating something out of "old junk?" I know that every time I try to throw out an egg carton or milk jug, my kids come up with some better purpose for it. You may have read here on Go Ask Mom, that kids could enter their own moving creations in a contest inspired by this exhibit. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to show off some of this talent.

My daughter, Trinity, and her friend, Luke Johnson, were two of the four winners of the "Get Gerboized" contest. Along with the other two winners and guests, we joined Mr. Gerberich on Sunday for a behind the scenes tour to learn about what inspires him to build these art-meets-science exhibits. Sometimes he has an idea in mind and seeks out just the right pieces for it; other times it's the pieces he finds that inspire him to create an exhibit.

After the tour, each child had a chance to rifle through supplies and create a "whatchamacallit" of their own in a workshop led by Mr. Gerberich. The kids got busy right away, grabbing wooden planks, cardboard tubes, springs, plastic parts, etc. Mr. Gerberich made the rounds and offered praise and tips to improve their designs.

Trinity built a working Ferris wheel model, and Luke built a dragon. My son, Kyler, came along as a guest and built a racetrack. I also saw lots more amazing creations, like a walking robot, a vase of flowers, a helicopter and a fancy drink dispensing bottle. The kids had so much fun, and it was a blast watching them get so into their projects.

It's a good thing I kept that box of leftover "parts" after Trinity built her initial contest entry, because the next time we're stuck inside on a rainy day, we've got more rides to build to add to that Ferris wheel. And I'm sensing this racetrack on my dining room table is going to get much longer and more involved.

Thanks so much to Mr. Gerberich and to the Museum of Life and Science for such an amazing experience!

Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.

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  • dikduh Mar 11, 2014

    Cute story ... nice to see that children use their imagination instead of just being glued to video games! Kudos to Mr. Gerberich for sharing his creative talents with the museum and the group of children!