At Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, USA thousands of children daily jump, dance, step and bounce on a 6-tile Sustainable Dance Floor. The floor is part of the ‘Explore Energy’ exhibition.
We talked to Valerie Mosher, STEM specialist at Roper Mountain Science Center, about this exciting exhibit.
First off: why did you decide to include the Sustainable Dance Floor in the exhibit?
“We love the uniqueness and high engagement factor of the floor for visitors to learn and explore energy and learn how generators work. We also feel like this is an inspiring way to encourage people to learn about sustainable energy and come up with ideas for the future. We have many energy companies in the area, however, people take for granted how energy gets to their homes or businesses. The Sustainable Dance Floor helps people think about what it takes to generate electricity and hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”
What role does the floor play in Explore Energy?
“With Explore Energy we will educate and inspire visitors about sustainable energy and energy transformations. Thanks to a generous donation from the Fluor Foundation in Greenville, SC, thousands of public and school field trip visitors of all ages will soon jump, dance, step and bounce on the tiles while learning about energy. There will be an educational focus on how energy is transformed from mechanical-kinetic (jumping up and down) to electrical energy through a generator which is innovatively integrated in your technology.”
What kind of games will visitors be playing on the floor?
“We will engage visitors with the Energy Battle game where up to 3 teams of two will compete to produce the most amount of energy. We love the idea of family and friends jumping together to transform their energy into electricity. We hope to add other games and experiences as we observe and talk to visitors interacting with the floor. They will likely come up with some good ideas we have not thought of.”
Next to the dance floor, what else can be ‘explored’ at the exhibit?
“The goal of this exhibit is to get visitors to explore many forms of energy in new and exciting ways. In addition to the Sustainable Dance Floor, we are installing a design-your-own magnetic ball wall where multiple visitors create an ever changing design of pipes, tubes, ramps, gears and more to get a ball from the top of the board to a point of their choosing.
We are furthermore installing a hands-on circuit bench where visitors independently or collaboratively build their own circuits to power fun devices like buzzers and plasma disks! The exhibit space will also have an Infrared Camera directed on visitors as they enter our upper lobby with a large LCD display so guests can see and explore the hidden heat energy in themselves and all around them. These exhibits will add to our existing solar energy kiosk which allows visitors to interact with the dashboard that shows the amount of energy our 84 solar panels are producing. Leap motion ‘gesture based’ technology energy games will also help inspire visitors to learn and Explore Energy.”
For more information check: www.ropermountain.org