News Room | New Math Moves! exhibit
New exhibit makes learning algebra fun and easy
(DURHAM, NC) Researchers believe a new exhibition at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, Math Moves!, may improve a child’s understanding of algebra later in life. The exhibition, which focuses on ratio and proportion, will be part of a 3-year national study launching in 2012 and facilitated by the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education. The study will test the thesis that science centers can best help children prepare for algebra by providing rich, engaging, long-term environments and experiences that make math learning fun and rewarding. A 2-year evaluation study conducted by Selinda Research Associates at the Museum of Life and Science will also measure how repeat visits to the Math Moves! exhibit impacts a child’s experiences with ratio and proportion over time. The exhibit opens on Saturday, February 18.
“You don’t have to be good at math to have a great time in this exhibit,” says Elizabeth Fleming, exhibit development manager, Museum of Life and Science.
Understanding proportion is as easy as moving objects closer to or further away from a light source and observing the difference in the sizes of the objects' shadows. Learning about ratio is as simple as trying to balance an assortment of weights situated along several metal rods. Visitors can grab a friend and move along a platform to measure and compare their rates of motion as well as create different patterns and shapes, which are simultaneously displayed on a screen. By placing wheels at different locations on a spinning disk, visitors can manipulate and compare the frequency of the sounds. The exhibit also includes a section on how to create three dimensional objects by using blocks, and how to use your body as a unit of measurement. The exhibit is designed for ages 6-12 and their families and is expected to be on display at the Museum for the next 3-5 years.
Math Moves! is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Museum of Science in Boston, Explora in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education at San Diego State University, and the Technical Education Resource Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The exhibit was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation. To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.lifeandscience.org or call 919.220.5429.