Interactive exhibits at the Hill Country Science Mill in Texas helped educate and engage high school students about careers in the state’s biosciences and energy sectors
Patten Studio created three exhibits encouraging visitors to interact not only with touchscreens, but also with one another, making for a fun experience that fostered decision-making capabilities, promoted cooperation, and simulated real-world possibilities related to biology, chemistry, and energy.
The Energy Game
The first exhibit, the Energy Game, put players in the seat of a virtual energy control room with physical controls that allowed them to regulate the supply and distribution of differing power sources to Texas, the only state in the country to have its own power grid.
Designed to be a single- or multi-player experience, the game helped players understand the diversity of power sources (nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind and solar) and how those sources balance the supply and demand of the energy grid.
The second exhibit, Molecular Detective, took visitors through an onscreen DNA sequencing simulation that compared genetic samples to determine their origin, while also emphasizing recent developments in the field.
The third interactive station was a chemistry exhibit that allowed visitors to drag atoms of the elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Fluorine, Sulfur and Chlorine across a touchscreen, and drop them in a ‘reaction’ area to create complex molecules. The resulting compounds (methane, for example) were brought to life through images and video.