Design a maths exhibit

Belinda Smullen is an exhibition designer with Museum Victoria. She designs information, exhibits and interactives that people will use when they visit an exhibition. Watch the videos then take on the challenge below.

Watch this video with a transcript

If you are ready to try your hand at designing an exhibit, take a look at this video.

Watch this video with a transcript

The Challenge: Design a Maths Exhibit

Your challenge is to design an exhibit or interactive that explores a maths concept. The exhibit needs to fit into the style of exhibits found at Scienceworks, that is, it needs to:

  • Allow people of different ages (including school groups), to interact easily with it
  • Offer educational value – what will visitors learn or come to understand?
  • Be interesting and fun!

You might want to consider the question - What makes an exhibit interesting?

  • Will you use sounds or lights?
  • Does it have to be like a game – are there rewards or elements of competition?
  • Will it include the use of technology or gadgets?
  • Do you need to be doing something or do you want to simply watch and/or listen?

Can you think of anything else that might make an exhibit interesting?

The Process: Audience Research

Sometimes, what you consider ‘interesting’ may not be the case for others, so it is important to gauge the audience’s point of view before creating new exhibits. You might want to consider collecting information from people of different ages as to what they think would make a good exhibit/activity. Is there a particular area of maths they want to know more about?

Either individually or in teams, determine how will you go about collecting this information and decide the type of information that would be most useful to you? For example:

  • What age groups will you need to survey?
  • Who will you survey and how will you do it? Questionnaire, interview, another method?
  • What are the key questions you need to ask them and how will they respond? i.e. multiple choice, rating scale, open ended comments.

Then design the survey, collect the information, collate and analyse the data.

If you have the opportunity, visit an exhibition in a museum or science centre and collect ideas from exhibits that you thought worked well. Consider what features made the exhibit interesting, engaging and educational. What attracted you to it and kept you interested? Did it seem to also work for other visitors? Did it ‘work’ for all ages or for specific audience groups?

The Presentation: Communicate Your Ideas

Having done some background research you are ready to start planning your exhibit.

Present your final design in the form of a report and/or presentation, including your exhibit design and a discussion of how it meets the necessary conditions required for an exhibit to be a suitable addition to an exhibition. Your presentation should include an explanation of:

  • How your exhibit design caters for the intended audience? You should use your survey data to support your arguments.
  • The idea behind your exhibit – what maths concept are you communicating?
  • What maths did you use in researching and designing your exhibit?

To help support the ideas in your presentation, consider the following:

  • Use the responses or surveys and present them as graphs to help support your design. How have you taken into account people’s responses in your design?
  • Annotate your design illustration to help you explain why you chose the design and topic that you are presenting.



We would love you to share your solutions with us. Email us a report on your findings. You may even send a video presentation or a link to it, explaining your discoveries and the maths you used in your investigations.

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