Development of Science Related Exhibits for Young Children

September 1st, 1986 - February 28th, 1989 | PROJECT

The St. Louis Science Center is a major metropolitan science museum serving a population of 2.3 million people. One year ago they moved into a new facility at a new location and attendance at the museum has tripled, reaching 600,00 visitors this past year. The center will develop a "Science Playground" in order to teach basic science principles and process through a series of 45 outdoor participatory exhibitions around the major areas of motion, energy, light, sound and the natural environment. The physics of motion will be explored through exhibits such as a friction slide, lunar gravity swing, double-axis human pendulum, etc. Energy exhibits will provide experiences with watermills and water power, fulcrum leverage and solar energy. Light exploration includes a solar column, prisms and rainbows, soundwheel and whisper discs. A weather station will have a rain gauge, anemometer, a variety of barometers, etc. This contemporary playground concept was developed as a response to limitations of indoor facilities and to extend use of outdoor space in a creative manner. The exhibit will be a model for extending science learning opportunities for schools, parks, other science museums and similar institutions. The center surveyed 31 science centers, 82 parks and 85 school districts to gauge interest in use of science playground exhibits, and found a clear interest in this type of project by all sectors surveyed. Exhibit designs will be published and furnished at cost to any facility wishing to replicate all or any part of the exhibition.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Jeffrey Bonner, Principal Investigator, St Louis Science Center


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 8651996
Funding Amount: 301217


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | General STEM | Nature of science | Physics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits