I know that for some people, mathematics is the supreme beauty of the universe; let me just say that I am not one of these people. However, the new carnival-themed “Math Midway” exhibit at Liberty Science Center came very close to making me a believer. Colorful, marvelously interactive and just plain fun, Math Midway will appeal to all ages, with different levels of appreciation and comprehension.
Kicking off LSC’s “Year of Math”, Math Midway is an exhibition from the Museum of Mathematics (opening 2012) and debuted at the 2009 World Science Festival Street Fair in New York City. My children and I had a chance to play in “The Midway” the day before it opened (October 7), and while my 7-year old and 5-year old didn’t emerge being able to solve the Hadamard Matrix, they did come away with a sense that math is engaging and lively. In other words, Math Midway did its job.
Some of the best elements of Math Midway include the square-wheeled tricycle (see if you can discover why the ride is so smooth), the Mysterious Harmonograph (a machine that creates lovely swirling patterns on paper you can take home), and the “tessellation” experiments, a giant board on which you can make puzzle patterns with interlocking monkeys, and the corresponding play mat with large interlocking pillows. (My son rolled on the mat for an hour while my daughter couldn’t drag herself away from the tricycle.)
Math Midway will live in LSC until January 22, 2012, so I encourage you to get over there and sample just a bit of mathematics’ supreme beauty—and fun. Free with museum admission of $15.75/Adults, $11.50/Kids.