Kids Invent the Future in Design Quest Exhibit

May 24, 2013
Design Quest exhibit, robotic arm

Newsroom: 510-642-2226

23 May 2013 – Berkeley, CA: What do life-saving vaccines, smart phones, automobiles and cameras all have in common? They all changed the world, and they were each invented by someone who was once a kid.

Clean water and air across the globe, a cure for cancer, useful robots in the home—all these inventions can significantly improve our lives, and it will be up to today’s kids to create them. The Design Quest exhibit at the Lawrence Hall of Science was created with this in mind.

The Design Quest exhibit provides young people with a platform for generating ideas and designing, building and testing their creations. By building prototypes and optimizing them, kids get a chance to apply a process used by real engineers to solve problems.

The Hall applied this same creative approach to developing the exhibit itself. “Design Quest is an expanded version of our Ingenuity program that was first piloted a few years ago,” said Gretchen Walker, Public Science Center Director for the Lawrence Hall of Science. “We’ve been learning from visitors and working with engineers and UC Berkeley students to create an exhibit where kids as well as adults can have lots of fun solving challenges like real engineers.”

Visitors to Design Quest can explore freely or try out the challenges written on Quest Cards throughout the exhibit. The exhibit will be featured at the Lawrence Hall of Science from June 1 through September 2, 2013. Exhibit activities include:

• Automata – Create unique moving sculptures with motions determined by a lever system you design.

Design and Drive – Combine wheels and treads to optimize LEGO® vehicles for climbing or for speed.

• Stop-Motion Stories – Tell a story with toys, cameras and a computer and create a short video using stop-motion animation.

• Make Station – Create a traditional item using non-traditional materials and discover the many possibilities of a space that is part tinkerer’s workshop and part artist’s studio.

• Ingenuity Lab – Prototype, play and explore engineering with friends and family or with UC Berkeley students, guest artists and expert makers.

• Fly High – Create a “flying machine” and test it in vertical tubes of air.

• Build a Bridge- Try building a bridge that won’t snap or buckle. Use gesture controls to explore an interactive exhibit on the construction of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The Hall connects engineers and college students with kids and parents to develop activities like those in Design Quest. Recently, engineers from Meyer Sound Laboratories and students in Alice Agogino’s Mechanical Engineering Product Development course at UC Berkeley developed a sound challenge in which visitors built their own speakers and instruments in the Ingenuity Lab. “Collaborating with engineers makes the activities and topics relevant and rewarding for all involved,” said Jennifer Wang, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in the SESAME program (Studies in Engineering, Math and Science Education) who has helped develop the Ingenuity program at the Hall over the past three years. “It’s a unique experience, and the families that visit play for hours getting their designs to work just they way they want them to.” The Lawrence Hall of Science is creating similar experiences in Design Quest’s Ingenuity Studio.

The Design Quest exhibit is sponsored by ScholarShare College Savings Plan and by Chevron. A supporter of the Hall for many years, Chevron has provided funding that helped to seed the development of the Design Quest program. ScholarShare is a tax-advantaged way for families to save for college and has been a Hall sponsor for the past three years. “We are proud to sponsor programs like Design Quest that get children excited about learning,” said Zeny Agullana, executive director of ScholarShare. “Design Quest and ScholarShare both share the same goal—inspiring children to become lifelong learners and be able to attend college.”

Businesses interested in partnering with the Hall to develop future design challenges by volunteering or supporting the program through sponsorship should contact the Hall by emailing The Hall is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and general admission is $6–12. Children under 3, members, and UC Berkeley students and staff receive free admission.

For more information on the exhibit:
@berkeleyscience #weinvent

Visitor Services and membership information: 510-642-5132
Special opportunities for press photography and video of the exhibit are available and can be arranged by appointment.

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