Rockford’s Discovery Center unveils new exhibit focused on math Sept. 23

Visitors can tile shapes into pleasing patterns, fold an origami model (pictured) and compare how much different containers hold, to hone skills in measurement, arithmetic and geometry. (Photo provided)

Online Staff Report

Rockford’s Discovery Center Museum will hold a grand opening for its new permanent exhibit, “Figure it Out!,” from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23. The exhibit focuses on recognizing math in everyday life.

In addition to the opening of the exhibits, a variety of hands-on activities will also be offered.

Figure It Out!” consists of engaging activity centers with patterns, shapes and sizes that entice you to “play with math.” Visitors can tile shapes into pleasing patterns, fold an origami model and compare how much different containers hold, to hone skills in measurement, arithmetic and geometry.

Developed specifically for elementary through middle school-aged children, the exhibition is composed of a main activity surrounded by a collection of related objects and images — from blueprints and telescope lenses, to sneakers and rugs.

Gathered from around the world, these collections illustrate how architects and product designers, craftsmen and scientists use the same skills that visitors can use to understand how math affects our everyday lives.

Visitors can create quilt and tile patterns, experiment with drum beat rhythms, identify three-dimensional mystery shadow shapes, fold origami to see its application to science, explore volume concepts using containers of different shapes and sizes, and play with reflective symmetry.

Of the many subjects that children learn in school, math is often the most abstract. It appears to have little or no relevance to children’s lives. Learning to read gives children a chance to read street signs, menus and books. Learning to write lets them communicate with others and create their own stories. With math, children often do not experience its relevance in their everyday lives; one of the best ways to help children with math is to make it more relevant.

Discovery Center Museum is a non-profit children’s science museum with more than 200 hands-on exhibits, planetarium, special area for children 6 and younger, and an award-winning outdoor Science Park. The museum is ranked the No. 4 children’s museum in the nation by Child magazine.

Discovery Center is inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. General admission is $7 adults, $7 children 2-17 and free for museum members and children age 1 and younger. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily.

Call (815) 963-6769 or visit www.discoverycentermuseum.org for more details.

Posted Sept. 20, 2012

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