Teacher Newsletter | Pensacola MESS Hall

Teacher Newsletter

To enrich your student’s science experience, the Pensacola MESS Hall has a lot to offer. From open exploration or in-depth themed field trips to classroom workshops and science shows, there is a lot to know! That’s why, once a month, we’ll send you our Teacher Newsletter to keep you updated on our programming. Learn about booking field trips, get details about a featured program, and let us tell you about hot topics in science news and hands-on activities for you to share with your students.

If you have any questions or comments, the best way to contact us is at groups@pensacolamesshall.org. Tell us what you’re looking for to supplement your students’ science education.
Click here for a list of all School Programming.

November Teacher Newsletter

Jump To:
Things to Know | Featured ProgramScience News | Classroom Activity | Learn More

Things to Know

    • Hidden No More–Join the MESS Hall & the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council as they welcome women scientists from Austria, Costa Rica, Fiji, Mongolia, Namibia, Sweden, Tanzania, Timor-Leste & United Arab Emirates in celebration International Science Center & Science Museum Day. Tue, November 5, 2019, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM CST. To Register Click Here.
    • Now offering two new themed field trips! Get Going with Gravity and Engineer It!
    • Book a field trip for the 2019-2020 school year by requesting field trip dates. Spots are filling up quickly!
    • We can come to your school. No buses required. Check out what we can offer at your school.
    • We are making a conscious effort to reduce the “stuff” you as a teacher have to carry away from a field trip. Most of our stations are equipped with reusable materials that reinforce Florida educational standards. You’ll notice less going in your school’s trash cans and being left atop desks or even on the floor.

Featured Program

Fund-A-Bus & Gulf Coast Science Festival

The Pensacola MESS Hall is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for schools in our community. Through generous donations from MESS Hall supporters, we are offering $125 mini-grants to a limited number of schools to offset the cost of busing to the MESS Hall for field trips. We hope this will allow your school to bring your students to the MESS Hall for a field trip.

Grants will be no more than $125 per school. Distribution of funds will be based on several factors. Field trips must be scheduled for this school year.Only one mini-grant will be awarded per school. Apply for the Fund-A-Bus grant here

Apply Today

March 27, 2020 | Field Trip Day at Seville Square

Join us March 27-28 for the third annual Gulf Coast Science Festival! This Festival will feature a variety of science- and technology-related activities, all with the goal of inspiring curiosity, experimentation, and creative problem solving by both adults and children.


On Friday, March 27, get hands-on science exploration for 5th through 8th grade. Admission to Field Trip day is FREE. Fill out an interest form to take advantage of this awesome opportunity.

Science News Brief

Scientists taught rats to drive little rat-sized cars.

Scientists at the University of Richmond taught rats to drive. But, don’t worry. You won’t be seeing rats behind the wheels of traditional cars. These rats learned to enter a custom “rat-operated vehicle,” or ROV, constructed from a one-gallon plastic container turned on its side. Once inside the ROV, the rats stood on an aluminum plate and pressed on a copper bar to trigger the wheels’ motor. They propelled their tiny car to the end of their enclosure, where they collected their reward–Froot Loops.

The scientists used the ROVs as a way to determine which learning environments affected rats learning and stress levels. Rats who lived in an enclosure with toys were better at driving and steering than rats who lived in plain enclosure. Rats who lived in the enriched environment also had less stress hormones when driving. 

These results have implications for human health, too. There may be activities that release hormones that can ward off prolonged stress. It may be driving ROVs for rats, but for humans there could be many other stress-relieving activities.

Classroom Science Activity

Build a Balloon Car


  • Paperboard rectangle (a good source are cereal boxes)
  • Push pins
  • Paperboard circle wheels
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Bendable Straws
  • Balloons
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler


  1. Cut the straws into two 2-inch pieces. Tape them to the bottom of the paperboard rectangle, one in the front and one is the rear.
  2. Push a lollipop stick through each of the straws. 
  3. Push a push pin through the center of a cardstock circle and stick it into the end of the lollipop stick to make a wheel. 
  4. Repeat steps three and four with the other ends of the lollipop sticks so that you have four wheels. Flip the car over and make sure that the wheels roll properly and that the car is moving straight. If not, adjust the cardboard circles until it does.
  5. Stretch out the balloon by  blowing it up and releasing the air. This will make it easier to blow up when it is attached to the car. Then, insert the straw into the balloon, and tape the balloon to the straw.
  6. Cut about 2 inches off of the end of the straw, and tape the straw to the car. 
  7. Blow air into the straw to inflate the balloon and watch the car go!

MESS Around

Can you make your car go faster or slower?
What happens if you reposition the balloon?
What happens if you add more weight to your car?

What’s going on?

The principle at work is Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of the balloon powered car, the action is the air rushing from the straw, and the reaction is the movement of the car. When you blow up the balloon, set your racer down, and let it go, the air that is escaping from the balloon causes propulsion.  

Another principle at work is the conservation of energy. The moving balloon car has kinetic energy, but even an object that isn’t moving has energy. This energy is called potential energy. The potential energy of the car is in the elastic material of the balloon. As the balloon fills with air, it builds more potential energy. When the air flows from the balloon, it changes to kinetic energy.  

More Information

Click here for more information on our Classroom Programs. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the best updates on our upcoming programs and events, both for your classroom and your family.

If you are not already, be sure you are signed up for our monthly Teacher Newsletter to stay up-to-date on what the MESS Hall has to offer, and to receive the science news and activities we share with you!

As always, feel free to email any questions about program details or booking to groups@pensacolamesshall.org.