WHAT IS IT?
Elementary Q is a set of activities for children to interact with elementary chemistry concepts in a playful way. It is aimed at children between six and eight years old, and encourages children to interact with some concepts maybe for the first time but in a playful way. Each activity will bring in an interactive and entertaining environment in which a student encounters a new concept related to elements of the periodic table.
Elementary Q will consist of a set of more than 100 hundred activities related to each of the elements of the periodic table. The complete set should be displayed in a large space such a museum or any other institution with the certain conditions to ensure the proper interaction. As is not an individual installation, should be suitable for a group dynamic interactive experience. Otherwise, it could not guarantee an ideal play time.
The exhibition starts with a call to action for the kids. A visual message to call for their attention and that also works as a starting point of the installation. There is a small explanation for the parents too.
ACTIVITY 1: HYDROGEN
Hydrogen activity consist on a three-dimensional physical toolkit where each user can use all elements given to create its own representation of Universe. The different elements help each individual to visualize its own idea and at the same time acquire a small capsule of content such as where to find Hydrogen in the real world.
The kit includes a variety of arts & crafts materials organized in cardboard containers inside the surface that frame the canvas. The activity encourages both creativity and spatial intelligence, in which each child needs to visualize and represent with physical materials their own idea of how the universe is. The materiality is essential because they can customize almost everything instead of using predefined or given elements such as planets, stars or asteroids. The only constrain that they will have is a framed wooded art board providing white paper.
ACTIVITY 2: HELIUM
Helium activity wants again to show the real application of the element on earth. Helium balloons are a day to day object know by almost all children. So, this time the game is more about an action- reaction experience; where they need to trigger a system holding the string of a balloon finding the proper item in order to release the string and allow the object to fly up a little bit. This will create several questions such as, what it happened? Why it happened? How it works? They will need to answer or guess some questions by themselves.
The system is compounded by a box divided in two different sections: one for the electronic system (including an Arduino board connected to a stepper motor which will turn a gear when it’s activated thanks to a NFC sensor); and another including 100 coloured balls that will have RFID tags in order to trigger or not the motor in case the kid chooses the correct ball and approaches it to the sensor triggering the system.
ACTIVITY 3: LITHIUM
Lithium activity is a simple way to discover what objects found in our day to day contain lithium. A matching trivia with just two possible answers, yes or no.
This activity consists on a simple guessing card game on each card has one illustration of an object. To discover the answer the user just needs to flip the card. The simplicity of this activity was the result of asking several questions to different users and also from observing other activities more complex at the Liberty Science museum that didn’t work. The only downside that this activity has is that it can easily be outdated with a few years. Luckily there is an easy solution to this problem, adding or changing cards in order to be always up to date to what the children should know.
All in all, Elementary Q becomes a first step into an area with a huge potential. Educational scientific visualization is not only a challenge but also a great opportunity to solve a problem for some young students. Demystifying scientific complexity could be a deal breaker for our future generations.