You Do the Math
The MathAlive! interactive exhibit inspires young people on its first military tour
Math gets a bad rap. Just ask Bryan DeBates.
“Math is huge. Every single aspect of our lives has math in it, and it’s relevant to us,” said DeBates, director of education for the Space Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for space exploration.
With all that enthusiasm, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Raytheon chose the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the first stop in its debut military tour for MathAlive!, the company's one-of-a-kind interactive math and science exhibit. MathAlive! will run at the foundation’s Discovery Center from January 30 to April 30, 2016.
The Springs is home to five military bases —Fort Carson, Schriever Air Force Base, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station — making it a perfect location for the MathAlive! Military Tour premiere.
“Nothing brings math to life more than the MathAlive! exhibit," DeBates said. "It actually shows you how math fits into our daily lives.”
With all that promise, MathAlive! may be the answer to an age-old question: Will we ever use all the math we learned in school?
“MathAlive! ignites an interest in a subject that many young students find boring, fanning the flames so they want to learn more," said Todd Probert, vice president of Mission Support and Modernization for Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business. "As a result, we hope to nurture the next generation of engineers and innovators, who will push technology to new frontiers."
The MathAlive! experience will make a real impact on students, according to the Space Foundation's DeBates. “It will plant a seed, and when these kids return to the classroom, they’ll get more involved in math and science,” he said. “I know I’ll hear back from teachers that the MathAlive! experience sparked interest from some of the students, drawing them out of their shell in math class.”
After this year’s debut in Colorado Springs, the MathAlive! exhibit will travel to the following military communities:
- May to July 2016: Museum of Aviation, Warner-Robins, Georgia
- July to October 2016: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
- October 2016 to January 2017: Virginia Air & Space Center, Hampton, Virginia
Designed for families and students the exhibit brings to life the actual math behind things kids love – video games, sports, fashion, music, robotics and more – through interactive, immersive experiences.
According to DeBates, the 5,000-square-foot MathAlive! exhibit will occupy about 75 percent of the gallery space inside the Discovery Center. He’s expecting about 4,000 visitors will experience the exhibit. During that time, military families will be admitted to the Discovery Center and MathAlive! for free.
Local schools are already booking field trips to the Discovery Center to see MathAlive!, according to DeBates.
“We just had a group of third graders here, and I told them about the MathAlive! experience and was blown away by their reaction,” DeBates said. “They begged their teachers to let them come back.”