Raise your hand if you think math is scary. I see you out there, your hand half raised, while you look over your shoulder to see if anyone else is raising theirs. Well, whether you love math, or are freaked out by it, there is a place in New York City that makes math fun, the National Museum of Mathematics.
The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMATH) opened in 2012, and is the only museum in North America dedicated to “enhancing public understanding and perception of mathematics.” It was founded by the former president of the Goudreau Museum on Long Island, which was the country’s previous math museum. What MoMATH offers is an interactive experience, where visitors can put math to work in an effort to understand what all those letters and numbers mean in the real world.
When you enter MoMATH, through doors with a π-shaped handles, you enter a gallery with life-sized applications of math. You can drive a remote controlled car along a mobiles strip, or ride a platform that passes smoothly over oddly shaped supports that tumble and roll underneath, but maintain a constant height. You can experiment with the best angle and speed to shoot a basketball, or the best path for a car to come down a hill. You can even ride a tricycle with square wheels. Throughout the floor there are computer help stations and attendants to explain what is happening and the math behind each experience.
On the lower level of the museum there are smaller activities that also explore mathematical relationships. There are machines and computers that carry out formula calculations and create tessellations. There are ways to explore geometry and there is even an interactive floor that creates patterns and shapes based on the relative position and movement of people who walk on it.
MoMATH is the kind of museum that you and your family can spend several hours exploring and playing with math. It is a lot of fun, and you might get past some fo that fear you had when you started this piece.
Nuts and Bolts:
MoMATH is open 7 days/week from 10 AM - 5 PM.
Admission: Adult $18/ Child, Student, Senior $15