- Museums Victoria
Air Playground is a social and interactive exhibition where visitors of all ages can explore air and its complex scientific behaviours. Through open ended tinkering and collaborative play, visitors develop key STEM skills through experimentation. This temporary exhibition at Scienceworks features several interactive zones set against a friendly, playful look and feel that encourages creativity, teamwork and social learning. It translates complex scientific concepts through fun hands on exploration.
Air Playground is designed to present STEM learning through a new lens for the Scienceworks audience. The design opts for a bright, colourful, friendly design language that appeals to a wide range of children as shown through vigorous audience testing, particularly the non-STEM oriented. The mix of play based learning and scientific interpretation is also designed for adult visitors to encourage intergenerational co-learning. This meaningful interaction was further enabled by the playful integration of scientific information throughout the exhibition.
Environmental impact was front of mind during the development of Air Playground resulting in the use of modular and reusable wall systems and staging structures. The interactive activities were also designed to be reused as stand alone pieces that could be easily stored for future exhibitions or toured to extend their life cycle. Interpretation was also conveyed through digital media so the content could live beyond the exhibition and continue to educate via social media streams and encourage further experimentation at home. Paper materials used within the exhibition were also sourced responsibly and FSC accredited.
Air Playground challenges the usual format and visual language of a science centre by stepping away from individual mechanical displays and overwhelming text based interpretation. The exhibition presents play based learning in a new way for Scienceworks audiences by creating a larger world through an overarching design language that is friendly and inviting. This approach holds the attention of visitors for an extended period resulting in longer dwell times and more in depth experimentation. The exhibition was developed by an in house team with a cross section of design, visitor engagement and production to create a truly user centred result.
Scientific concepts around the topic of air can be quite complex. The play based learning presented in Air Playground aims to break this down for visitors, in particular children, as they are able to see the cause and effect through experimentation. The exhibition presents uniquely designed interactive stations that visitors can make their own. For example, Bernoulli’s principle is brought to life through a series of air blowers that visitors can build upon and experiment with together using a range of equipment provided in the space. The exhibition has rated highly among audiences for both its entertainment and educational value.