Geometry Playground is a traveling exhibition and set of outdoor play environments where visitors explore and experiment with geometric shapes—turning, taking apart, and reassembling handheld manipulables to gain detailed knowledge of their properties, but also climbing over and through large-scale immersive structures that maximize visual, spatial, and kinesthetic impact. An important departure from the tradition of geometric exhibits found in museums and classrooms, Geometry Playground integrates “body-in” with “hands-on” learning, based on recent research suggesting that immersive geometry experiences are a key foundation for later mathematical learning. The combination of handheld manipulables and immersive experiences is predicted to lead families and school groups to spend more time and retain stronger memories of their experiences, and to practice a wider variety of spatial reasoning skills, than would occur with hands-on exhibits alone. In the process, these groups will forge new positive emotional associations with geometry through play, problem solving, and aesthetic appreciation.
In addition, Geometry Playground provides an important laboratory for research on the efficacy of immersive experiences in enhancing informal learning – a widely held but largely untested assumption underlying exhibitions in science centers, museums, and other programs. Geometry Playground is therefore a combination of interactive exhibition, artful playground, and research project in the service of creating and evaluating a strong experiential foundation for geometrical learning.
Geometry Playground begins its tour starting at The Exploratorium from June 2010 to September 2010 and will then travel to the Science Museum of Minnesota. Geometry Playground will then begin its tour as an ExNET exhibit group and traveling exhibition.
Geometry Playground will change the way you think about geometry. This traveling exhibition engages your hands, brain, and body in playful investigations of this most visible branch of math.