Research Learning Center

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Saturdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28

10 AM to 4 PM

What target size supports the best performance?

Research shows that you can perform better either with large targets as you are more confident or with small targets as you are more focused. However, past studies were limited to using small number of targets. Our goal is to determine how accurately children throw on a wide range of target sizes.

In this study, participants will try to hit targets of various sizes as they throw a ball 3 times towards each of the different targets. Our previous studies with adults showed equal results: half of those who participated performed better as targets got smaller, while the other half performed better as targets got larger. We hypothesize that the young population will demonstrate a better performance with increased target size, as confidence will play a greater role than attentiveness. The results of the study will help us better understand what psychological state affects performance and what target size may be best for improving performance during practice. 

This study is a collaboration between Dr. Joe Shim (, Baylor University and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Saturday, October 21 and 28


If the milk is NOT hot, does that mean that it is cold?

Investigating children's development of language skills

How well do young children understand the word “NOT”? While they quickly learn experiential opposites such as “hot-cold” and “soft-hard”, the word “not” appears to be harder to understand when it is used in a sentence such as “the cup is not facing up”. Learning to understand the meaning of “not” in such sentences, or negation, is an important step in language development.

 For this study, children will complete a short sentence-picture matching task on a laptop and then decide if twelve pictures are correct or incorrect. Through investigating negation, researchers will learn more about children’s language processing. Results could increase understanding of children’s negation skils and language development.

This study is a collaboration between Tasneem Alqahtani, University of Texas at Arlington and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


Fun Fact

The OMNI sound system has 50 speakers, driven by 8 amplifiers that produce over 24,000 watts of sound through 6 channels and a giant sub-bass stack to give the audience that “you are there” feeling.

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