Research Learning Center

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10 AM - 1 PM

What makes kids eat?

Have you ever wondered why you eat the foods you eat?

This study will look at hunger and children’s preferences for different snack foods. Children will taste some snacks, report how much they like them, and then answer some questions about themselves and their hunger. Parents will also complete questionnaires about their child and their child’s food preferences.

We are interested in learning about influences upon eating. We hope to better understand how and when children develop eating behaviors that we see in adulthood. 

This study is a collaboration between Randi Proffitt Leyva & Sarah Hill, Texas Christian University ( ), and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

1 - 4 PM

What leads to self-control?

Have you ever noticed that there is a sweet spot for self-control? You need energy to get things done, but you’re more impulsive when you’re really tired or really excited. Research shows that self-control is strongest when you’re right in the middle: calm and alert.

This study will measure your self-control. Both children and adults will play a self-control game on an iPad. Scores on the game will be based on a combination of accuracy and reaction time.

During this game, you will wear a wristband that gives the researchers information on how fast the heart is beating and the amount of sweat coming from the skin. This information helps researchers understand how calm and engaged you are during the self-control game.

 This study is a collaboration between Dr. Catherine Spann, University of Texas at Arlington (, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.



10 AM - 4 PM

How do our bodies use the food we eat? Try our interactive app!

Your ideas can help improve biology education!

Do you ever turn on the wrong burner when using your stove? The design of an item is important in determining its usefulness. Designers often conduct “usability studies” to assess how well their product designs will work. With feedback from those who might use the product, they can make the product more user-friendly before it goes on the market.

 Sapling Learning creates interactive web apps to engage students in science as they explore their own questions. In this usability testing, participants will think aloud as they explore an interactive app for biology. Researchers will use participant feedback to ensure that the apps are intuitive and effective, and to ultimately get more students interested in science. At the same time, they hope to gain insight into how to conduct usability testing in a museum setting.

 This study is a collaboration between Sapling Learning ( and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.





Building a meal: What makes children choose what they eat?

Have you ever wondered what makes our kids eat what they eat? Researchers have found that what we know about health and how easily we can get healthy food affects how we eat. But what makes kids choose food for a typical meal?

This study will look at parent and child factors that guide how children choose food for a typical meal. Children will build a meal using food models, and each will compare his or her meal to what is recommended for healthy eating. Body composition assessment (height, weight, and hip/waist measurements) will be offered, and parent feedback will supplement understanding of food accessibility. Researchers will provide and discuss information on U.S. guidelines for healthy eating.

This research will help us understand what affects children’s choice of food for a typical meal. We will use what we learn from this research to guide education on healthy eating for children and their parents.

This study is a collaboration between Dr. Carol Howe (, Dr. Gina Alexander, and Dr. Jada Stevenson at Texas Christian University and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.



Fun Fact

Five of the movies shown in the Omni Theater have been nominated for Academy Awards: The Living Sea, Dolphins, Cosmic Voyage, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, and Special Effects: Anything Can Happen.  

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