DESIGN ZONE, new Museum of Discovery exhibit


The Museum of Discovery’s Latest Traveling Exhibit: Getting Behind the Scenes with DESIGN ZONE

What does it take to create an interactive and fun videogame? How many beats per second does a DJ need to get bodies moving on the dance floor? What goes behind creating a roller coaster or a skate park that produces the most fun and biggest thrills? Discover the secrets behind how videogame developers, music producers, roller coaster designers, and other creative problem solvers use math to do what they do in the Museum of Discovery’s new exhibition.

Design Zone is presented at the Museum of Discovery through the Arkansas Discovery Network, a statewide museum consortium funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and will be on exhibit through December 2, 2012.

Design Zone is a highly interactive, hands-on exhibition where visitors can explore a variety of creative concepts to learn the processes and tools needed to create a successful design. Design Zone is organized into three thematic zones, all highlighting the importance of science and mathematical thinking in areas critical to building creativity and innovation: art, music, and engineering.

Design Zone’s themed areas include:

Balancing Art – Discover the math behind mobiles as you create your own balancing art from colorful pieces.
Build a Tower – Choose your challenge and test your abilities to continue a pattern in three dimensions.
Marble Maze – Video game designers use algebra to create games with the right feel and level of challenge. Now it’s your turn. Start with a simple marble maze game controlled by a giant tilt table. Adjust variables and design a high-scoring game.

Drum Machine – When mixing a new song, DJs have to think about the number of beats in each music track and how they line up with each other. Use the drum machine to pick the sounds and the number of repeats for different tracks.
Light Show DJ – You’re in the control booth at a virtual concert. Your challenge is to put together laser light patterns to match the music and get your friends dancing.
Whack-a-phone – You can make music by whacking tubes of different lengths. The length of the tube determines the pitch. Play the mystery songs, and see if you can name that tune.

Roller Coaster Hills – All roller coasters start with a hill, and the first step in roller coaster design is to understand the relationship between hill height and distance traveled. Start a ball rolling down this exhibit’s ramp, and see how far it can travel – just like a roller coaster.
Fast Tracks – Roller coaster designers try to create tracks so that the coaster travels at different speeds during different points in the ride. This giant magnet wall lets you crate and test your own roller coaster design course.
Design a Skate Park – Skate parks can be modeled as a series of mathematical lines and curves. In this computer simulation, you can manipulate slope to create essential skate park features. Test your design with a virtual skater and ride the course.

The creation of Design Zone was made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation. The exhibition was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

The Donald W. Reynolds Science Center at the Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.