The View From Here

Raytheon's MathAlive! Gives Latest Boost to Space Foundation STEM Education Platform

Written by: developer

The Space Foundation opened the first and only science center museum in the Pikes Peak region, the Space Foundation Discovery Center, about three and a half years ago.

There have been a lot of exciting events and developments since then, with major sponsors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, AGI and others helping us create enriching STEM education experiences for more than 80,000 guests so far — including some of the most disadvantaged students in our state.

Now, with the support of Raytheon, we’re taking the math component of STEM to extreme new heights, with the Colorado premiere of MathAlive! — one of the most dynamic and sought-after educational exhibits in the country.

One of the most interactive exhibits exploring the world of mathematics ever to tour, MathAlive! is designed to inspire, to spark the imagination, to reveal not only math at work, but the endless possibilities of math. Designed for families and students, the exhibition brings to life the real math behind the things that kids love most — video games, sports, fashion, music, robotics and more. MathAlive! creates interactive and immersive experiences that bring to life the math at work in each, whether in design, application or use.

The exhibit, its premiere at the Smithsonian, and its national tour, have all been sponsored by Raytheon, a long-time Space Foundation corporate partner. Raytheon has also made possible this first-ever Colorado run for MathAlive!, to include free admission for military and their families with I.D., at the Space Foundation Discovery Center Jan. 30 through April 30.  (When it leaves Colorado at the end of April, MathAlive! moves on to the Museum of Aviation, Georgia; the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Ohio; the Virginia Air and Space Center; and the St. Louis Science Center.)

The extreme interactivity of MathAlive! allows visitors to ride a snowboard in a 3D experience, design and play their own video game, capture themselves in a 360-degree image in a unique, interactive jump into a fractal dance party, even design a custom skateboard for “pop” — the quick, snapping motion that allows a board to do the best tricks. Through nearly 40 unique, interactive experiences, the exhibit takes math from its native form into the applied worlds of design, engineering, technology and science.

You can test your engineering and city-planning skills on a large-scale eco bridge and take on different engineering roles to design a more sustainable infrastructure for a city.

And, of course, there’s space: visitors can explore and operate simulations of NASA’s latest robotics, including Robonaut 2 and the Curiosity Rover. From inside the cupola of the International Space Station, visitors will be able to view and operate the Canadarm.

As a core educational platform for the pursuit of our mission — To advance space-related endeavors, to Inspire, Enable and Propel Humanity — the Space Foundation Discovery Center is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of families and tens of thousands of students, not just from Colorado, but around the world. We’re confident that MathAlive! will help us achieve our maximum capacity goal of 40,000 visitor educational experiences in 2016, three years ahead of plan.

There are a lot of people who deserve credit for that kind of success, starting with our amazing teaching team, extending to the broader Space Foundation team that supports everything from marketing, to operations and logistics, to sales and finance and retail services. It certainly would not be possible without the passionate and dedicated teams of Teacher Liaisons, volunteers and docents who vastly multiply our ability to deliver quality STEM education programs.

But the growing partnership with our corporate partner companies has been key to our rapid growth. These companies, along with a growing base of local business and philanthropic supporters, are providing financial and in-kind support that jump-starts and amplifies the programs and experiences in STEM education that we are able to offer. By working together across the Space Foundation education platform, we are able, collectively, to have an impact that none of us could achieve on our own.

I invite you to visit the Space Foundation Discovery Center and marvel at the exciting things going on in Raytheon’s MathAlive! Be inspired by the hands-on learning taking place in the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center — including the Mars Robotics Laboratory and the 3D Printing Lab. Engage with the cyber operators and satellite jockeys of the future in the AGI Mission Simulation Lab. Take a jaw-dropping trip through the universe in the Northrop Grumman Science Center, featuring Science On a Sphere®.

Whether you can visit us here, or not, I invite you to consider how you can join the Space Foundation, and its partners, on this exciting journey. From individual financial contributions, to in-kind donations of exhibits and artifacts, to hosting Space Foundation programs in your own community, to more significant corporate partnerships — we want everyone in the space community to be part of this exciting journey.

The View From Here is that Raytheon’s MathAlive! is giving a great boost to the Space Foundation STEM education platform, and that ongoing partnerships with our industry, our community and like-minded supporters will take us further toward our goals of an inspired, well prepared, motivated workforce of the future.

This article is part of Space Watch: February 2016 (Volume: 15, Issue: 2).