4 December 2017
An exciting new gallery space has opened at Scienceworks today: Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together.
Part of a $6 million milestone gallery redevelopment at Scienceworks, Ground Up is a new permanent exhibition created to immerse children in an imaginative world of sensory discovery and construction-play and ignite engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Building on the early childhood “learn through play” standard set by the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum, it is part of a suite of new experiences being developed at Scienceworks. Each is aimed at engaging and preparing the next generation for a future in which an increasing number of jobs will rely on STEM skills of problem solving, hypothesising, experimenting and investigating.
Research shows girls as young as four already have a gender bias in thinking about future careers, with girls less likely to want to aspire to science and technology-based careers. So while the exhibition welcomes both boys and girls, a key part of its development was trying to combat this trend and ensure that the space made science accessible to girls.
To combat this Ground Up has placed emphasis on collaboration, used gender-neutral colours and has a female ambassador Dot – who will pop up throughout the space.
Upon entry, young children and adults will encounter a space that is entirely screen-free. In a world where more and more ‘technology’ means ‘digital’, this space will allow children to build foundational skills in engineering and coding using simple machines and real materials, rather than devices or touch screens.
They will be greeted by a stunning 7m tall Kinetic Sculpture which introduces the concept of working machines.
By testing and tinkering, this is a space with open-ended and instruction-free experiences that encourage the development of problem-solving skills (not rote learning), emphasising that there is no one ‘right’ way of doing something.
The new gallery has been created with close community and sector consultation. For two years Museums Victoria collaborated with over 5,000 children and adults, including early childhood education specialists, additional needs experts, teachers and visitors to Little Kids Day In events at Scienceworks.
Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together will be part of Museums Victoria’s autism-friendly museum project, with social stories available online in early 2018.