Captain Green's Time Machine 


Travel Back in Time to Save the Planet with Captain Green

The fourth and last Science on the Road program launched in 2009, Captain Green’s Time Machine, focuses on teaching elementary and middle school students about energy and the environment.

Partnering with PPG Industries, Carnegie Science Center’s Science on the Road programs visit area elementary schools and provide action-packed science programs that include hands-on demonstrations for students in elementary and middle school. “Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in the communities where PPG has a presence,” says Sue Sloan, executive director of the PPG Industries Foundation. “We’re strategic about how we do that, and education is our main focus, particularly in science and technology. So, what better place for us to do this than at Carnegie Science Center?”

Employees from PPG collaborated with the Carnegie Science Center to develop the program and materials. Clyde Warren, made an honorary "admiral" by the program creators, was one of many PPG employees who contributed their time to develop the program, is very proud of PPG’s outreach and support in creating programs that take science directly to the schools. “It gets kids to explore ideas and directly exposes them to science,” he said. “Captain Green’s van is a great example of that.”

Captain Green’s van, customized with the theme of the show, runs on bio-diesel fuel and will travel to area schools that have scheduled a presentation. Bio-diesel is manufactured from vegetable oils such as canola, soybean and sunflower. While the fuel burns cleaner than petroleum, it is slightly more expensive than traditional diesel, selling at around $3.07 per gallon.

According to Marilyn Fitzsimmons, Education Coordinator for the Carnegie Science Center, “Because we see more than half a million kids at Carnegie Science Center each year and reach out to another 225,000 through Science on the Road, we know these types of programs have an enormously positive impact on students,” she said. “This year’s program, Captain Green’s Time Machine, is all about energy and environment. Each segment teaches students about sustainable energy and how our activities can and will impact the environment.”

Captain Green’s Time Machine will travel to area schools throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York and is available as two programs a 60-minute assembly presentation and an all-day Eco-Adventure for a full-day experience that reinforces the concepts of conservation, climate change, and sustainability through hands-on activities that illustrate the history and science of climate change.

The program features 10 ‘Adventure Stations’ including, a close-up look at how composting works through observation of live red worms, an exploration of sustainability regarding fisheries that put our oceans at risk; a demonstration of how energy can change into several forms including light, sound and heat using conventional and unconventional means; participating in Captain Green’s Scavenger Hunt that teaches students ways to green our earth and identify problems as yet unsolved.

“PPG is pleased to support a program that helps students understand science and technology while providing them with a fun and unforgettable experience. We think this program will have an enormous impact in helping to inspire tomorrow’s scientists,” Sloan added.

PPG’s total grant of $583,000 allowed the Carnegie Science Center to purchase and customize four specialty vans for use in transporting the show to schools, hire additional staff, and develop multimedia programs. Captain Green’s Time Machine is the fourth and final program created for the Science on the Road series. The others include:

The Great Color Caper (2006) lets students help solve the mystery of the missing colors from the city of “Spectropolis” as they learn about the nature of light and how colors are derived from light and pigments, sight, and perception;

Fractured Physics (2007) dives deep into Newton’s Second Law (hint: that’s the one about momentum) by demonstrating the amazing properties of glass.

Ion Jones and the Lost Castle of Chemistry (2008) takes a journey to rain forests, deserts, glaciers, ancient temples, and prehistoric carbon deposits to teach students how to use chemistry in industry, biology, technology, and the environment; and,


According to Fitzsimmons, “Science on the Road programs are “central” to Carnegie Science Center’s mission of providing informal learning, inspiring young minds, unleashing the imagination and showing the many possible career paths in science and technology.”