The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

Big Fork Little Fork

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App Description: This is a comprehensive kitchen app for parents and children with a detailed list of recipes, how-to videos, nutrition information, cooking tips, articles and two fun games to nurture good eating habits and understanding of different foods. There are two games in the app: Space Picnic and Berwyn’s Deli. We use the Space Picnic game more often in the museum. This game helps teach the food pyramid and develops math skills to pick the right proportion of food groups in a meal. The player has to pick and drag the required amount of different food groups such as grains, fruits, dairy, meats, beans and vegetables in the right containers of the space shuttle. The required food proportion for the space crew is always communicated by the captain.

How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app in the Kidtropolis, USA Niko Niko Diner area. The facilitators use the Food Pyramid in the Space Picnic game to identify essential food groups. Then, they encourage the children to find the different food groups in the Kidtropolis diner and prepare a plate with one of each  essential food group. The facilitators also use the food pyramid in the app as visual to talk about which foods are essential to our daily diet. They challenge children to use pretend foods in the diner or using as a scavenger hunt to find foods from essential food groups. Lastly, the facilitators also use this app in the Power Science Lab in PowerPlay whenever we have activities related to nutrition and healthy eating habits.

Museum Recommending: Children’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Cost: Free
Link: Big Fork Little Fork


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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: