New exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry makes math fun

The kids are well into the school year by now, so chances are you’ve probably heard, “I hate math!” at least once (or uttered it while trying to help them with homework). But after the new Museum of Science and Industry’s permanent exhibit “Numbers in Nature” opens this month, we have a feeling math might be your new best friend.

After several years of work on the exhibit, MSI experts plan to take the fear out of math and numbers by showing mathematical patterns are all around us, says John Beckman, director of exhibit design and development.

The centerpiece is a 1,600-square-foot mirror maze. It leads from the front of the exhibit where patterns are introduced to the back of the exhibit where families can explore math concepts more in depth.

“It’s a great low-barrier way to get people to understand how math can be used,” Beckman says. “When you can start to recognize it in nature, you can start to understand how the patterns help things function and how we can use patterns as well.”

Beckman hopes families leave the exhibit with more appreciation for math and discover what long-time math lovers already know, that “math can be fun.”

He says the exhibit, which moves into the space across from the coal mine on the first floor, will offer something for everyone.

“We really hope people leave the exhibit and see their world in a new way,” he says.

Numbers in Nature

  • Opens Oct. 8
  • Included in admission
  • Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • msichicago.org

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