Notion of Motion:
Science of Skateboarding

Opened in May 2018, STEM meets skateboarding in our brand new physics-focused, game-based exhibit! In Notion of Motion: Science of Skateboarding, you’ll learn about force, mass, gravity, and energy through interactive, problem-solving components including a skates shop, race track, magnetic wall, modular skate park, friction hill, rolling ball sculpture, balance boards, and game touch tables.

This exhibit is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and was developed in collaboration with the University of Iowa and the University of Washington!

In this game, you will design your own Skateboard Park!  Drag a ramp shape up to the playing area.  Place it next to the end of your current ramp.  It will “snap” into place when you get it close.  You can change the shape of the ramp piece by selecting the Options wheel under the ramp.  You can even flip the ramp piece to go the other direction using the Options wheel.  Once your ramp is built, click “Go” and your skateboarder will ride the ramp.  You can speed your skater up a bit by clicking the “Boost” button after you hit “go.”  When you complete a challenge, you will see a check mark appear next to that challenge.  Can you complete all 5 challenges?

Play Prompts

  • On the magnetic wall, build a track that is 2 feet tall and carries a ball 4 feet. How many pieces did you use to make the ramp?
  • How many different combinations of modular skate ramp track can you create that cause a skateboarder to stop on its own after traveling 3 feet?
  • Using modular skate ramp track pieces, start at one end of the table and have a partner start at the other end. Make a track that the skateboarder can ride.
  • Test the force of friction by skateboarding down Friction Hill!
  • Do heavy things really fall to the ground faster than light things? Test this belief by experimenting with turtles riding skateboards down the skateboard racing ramp. Does changing the number of turtles on the skateboard impact how fast the skateboard travels?

This exhibit initiates:

Healthy Kids
School Readiness