Early exposure to STEM supports children’s overall academic growth, develops early critical thinking and reasoning skills, and enhances later interest in STEM study and careers. This exhibit area, installed in April 2016 as part of VDM's 25th Anniversary Celebration Campaign, occupies the first part of the Front Gallery.
- The Flight Lab focuses on the principles of flight. Choose an object from one of the bowls and place your object under the tube to watch the air lift it up! Try inserting two objects at the same time to race or releasing the object in a different way. What happens if you ball up a scarf, or toss the ball upwards?
- The Magnet Wall sponsored by Dominion and built by Young & Rannigan, allows children to explore the principles of gravity, cause and effect, slope and physics. All of the pieces on this wall are magnetic! Move them around to see how they can work together. What can you connect?
- The Automoblox Ramp, revamped and built by BACON Club of Charlottesville High School, features five ramps of different slopes Visitors can build customized race cars and learn the concepts of how gravity, force and motion work together to make objects move. Use the colorful shape pieces to connect wooden car blocks. Add wheels to axle blocks and any passengers and a roof that you like. Some children will prefer just the basics, wanting to focus their play on using the car, while others will enjoy assembling creative combinations. When the car is ready, race it on the ramp!