Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 4: Brainstorming Exhibit Improvements

This Thursday, the Energy Net group continued work on improving our existing exhibit. One of our interns, Lauren led an activity teaching teens about indicator species. Indicator species are organisms that are sensitive to a particular environmental condition such as certain pollutants. The health of indicator species are used to indicate the health of the ecosystem overall. Some of the indicator species we looked at were mussels, clams, and snails.

Getting our hands on indicator species
The group then ventured up to the existing exhibit and brainstormed ideas to improve the visitor experience and visitor understanding of the topics displayed. We broke up into three groups, each of which concentrated on a different aspect of the exhibit. The groups focused what visitors can learn, how water pollution affects their lives, and what changes they can make in their own lives to solve the problem.

Braining about the exhibit in the exhibit space
Each group then created a sketch of improvements or additions that would improve the visitor experience. Groups then presented their ideas to everyone. One of the ideas of the first group was to include samples of permeable and impermeable surfaces, so that visitors get a visual representation of the difference between the two.
Brainstorming exhibit improvements
The second group wanted to have the visitor's think about how these issues concern them. One idea was to include flip panels which various activities visitors may like to do on the rivers, and the impacts that pollution has on those activities. For instance, if people like to boat, they would flip up that panel and see that in the days following a heavy rain storm, they are advised to stay off of the water.

Presenting our amazing ideas!
One of the ideas of the third group, who focused on active visitor participation was to have a model rain garden, which people could construct. Another idea they had was to have a map of Pittsburgh where visitors could velcro pictures of green roofs to the places green roofs actually exist on the map. Next week we will narrow down what exhibit piece we can complete in the next month!

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