Kansas City’s Science City Hosts Its First Outdoor Exhibit

May 5, 2017

Nine elementary students led a marching band and nearly 500 of their classmates and teachers into the grand opening of Science City's first ever outdoor exhibit, Simple Machines At Play.

Science City is located at Union Station Kansas City.

The Mason Elementary students wanted their school with them to experience the interactive exhibit inspired by their winning proposal in the Burns and McDonnell Battle of the Brains, one of the nation's most unique K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competitions.

Simple Machines At Play is a 12,000-square-foot exhibit based on the six simple machines, or mechanical devices, that have transformed our world by letting us do more work with less effort. By changing direction and the amount of force applied, simple machines help lift, pull, push, turn, cut, split and fasten.

The student-inspired exhibit features:

Lever Lift, a beam that moves around a fixed point or fulcrum. It helps move a heavy load on one end when effort is applied to the other. Kids can test their strength by trying to lift a globe -- one that others can sit in -- using different ropes hanging from the beam.

Just Plane Zippy, which has two exhilarating zip lines that double as inclined planes. Kids discover how applying force -- in this case pushing off a platform -- allows them to "zip" faster.

Acceleration Plane, which invites kids to see how gravity works against friction by placing a variety of weighted wheels at the top of each ramp, then letting go.

The Wheel Deal, demonstrating how a wheel and axle make work easier. When you apply force, a wheel rotates on an axle, reducing friction to make it easier to move an object.

Pulley Power, featuring a rope looped around a wheel on an axle to pack a lot of power. By changing the direction of the force applied, you can lift a bowling ball with ease. Letting it go sends a tennis ball into the air.

Wedge It, a unique climbing wall demonstrating how wedges help lift or separate objects with less effort. Here, your hands and feet also serve as wedges when climbing.

Screw Slider, which lets kids discover the power behind the screws -- the threads. The closer the threads, the easier it is to turn.

Luckey Climber, a unique climbing structure that doubles as sculptural art. It spans three stories and provides expansive views of the entire space.

"One big reason Science City is so unique and internationally recognized is we're turning to our customers - children, parents and educators - to help shape their own experiences. In this case, it was student inspiration that helped transform their dream into this wonderful, one-of-a-kind exhibit," says George Guastello, president and CEO, Union Station.

"Children are learning as they explore, discover and create. These exhibits - inspired by their peers - all contain the essential elements of hands-on fun and play."


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