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High-energy interactive experience brings math to life at museum

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

MathAlive!, a highly entertaining, interactive traveling exhibit that allows visitors to experience  math in action, will open July 23 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.


The free 5,000-square-foot exhibit, which is underwritten by Raytheon, will be open at the museum July 23-Oct. 2. Forty immersive activities create fun experiences that bring to life the real math behind the things kids love most – video games, sports, design, music, entertainment, space and robotics. Highlights include a virtual downhill race in which visitors ride snowboards and a photo stage where they can capture a 360-degree freeze action “selfie.”


“We are thrilled to host the MathAlive! exhibit here at the museum,” said Judith Wehn, chief of the museum’s Education Division. “Inspiring our youth is an important part of our mission, and exhibits like this engage students in learning about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, concepts.”


Visitors can design and play their own video games, take the controls to master-engineer various aspects of a modern city, edit their own animated movies, compete against others in a mountain bike race, jump into a “binary dance party,” or program and control Curiosity, NASA’s next Mars rover. Through unique, interactive experiences, the exhibit takes math from its native form into the applied worlds of design, engineering, technology and science.


Throughout the exhibit, videos and graphic displays feature professionals, celebrities and visionaries who explain how they use math in their respective fields. Along the way, animated character guides help visitors tackle the challenges, explaining the math involved, prompting and encouraging answers, and jumping in if visitors get stuck.


The exhibit is designed to appeal to all ages and levels of math ability, but with particular relevance to kids in grades 3-8. It was curated to improve math proficiency among students, and inspire kids to explore and pursue STEM careers. For teachers, the exhibit serves as an entertaining and relevant exploration lab. Each interactive station presents different types and levels of math, so students at different grade levels will find the entire experience relevant and supportive to what they specifically are learning in the classroom.


“This exhibition is another way we can get tomorrow’s engineers and technologists excited by and interested in math today,” said Pam Wickham, Raytheon Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. “Raytheon invests in these types of innovative programs to keep kids engaged with math and science, to help ensure the strength of tomorrow’s American work force.”


Institutional collaborators for the exhibition include NASA, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Society of Professional Engineers, MATHCOUNTS and the Society of Women Engineers. The exhibition is featured as one of the major initiatives under MathMovesU, a national program developed by Raytheon to inspire kids to embrace mathematics as a key to their future. The exhibition is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions. (Federal endorsement is not implied.)


The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is part of a 15-city tour of science centers and museums, with a schedule of international venues to follow the U.S. tour.


About the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit


About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 94 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. Follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.


NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.


NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.