Bodies in Motion
The Physics of Dance and Human Movement
“The science of physics deals with the motion and interaction of material bodies….
It is no longer so unusual to find dance teachers explaining how forces act on the body…
And it is not so unusual to find scientists who enjoy the fact that science can speak usefully to the arts.”
~Ken Laws and Cynthia Harvey, Physics, Dance and the Pas de Deux
Visitors can explore physics principles in a hands-on, bodies-on, minds-on experience. Bodies in Motion encourages examination of basic physics concepts (mass, inertia, gravity, acceleration, and momentum) by exploring the motion of the human body. This is the first museum exhibit of its kind to focus on the unencumbered human body as a vehicle to making abstract physics concepts tangible. Dance and movement lend themselves to whole-body interactive exhibits, with a strong link between interactive experiences and educational goals. In Bodies in Motion, interactive experiences, graphics, illustrations, and moving images communicate educational content. Little reliance on written words creates greater potential for effective cross-cultural communication. The emphasis on science and the arts also nurtures sensitivity to cultural and ethnic diversity and facilitates cross-cultural communication.
- Move Your Body: through video, a professional dancer leads and encourages visitors to get “body on” through a series of physics-based activities on the floor.
- Turntable Pirouette: engages visitors in the exploration of angular momentum and rotational inertia as they spin on a wheel-chair accessible turntable.
- Newton’s Third Law: demonstrates this physics law using specially mounted chairs that enable visitors to feel the “equal and opposite reaction” as they push against each other and glide backwards.
Bodies in Motion is produced by Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts with funding from the National Science Foundation.
1,500 square feet
13 major components
Related programming offers exciting experiences designed to enhance the exhibit. For both the permanent and the traveling exhibit, chief scientist Kenneth Laws, the nationally renowned expert on the physics of dance and content advisor for the exhibit, is available to present his acclaimed lecture/demonstration on the physics of dance. A videotape of Dr. Laws’s program is included with the traveling exhibit. Teacher's Guides may be available upon request and will give educators additional ideas and resources for pre- and post-activities related to the exhibit and the physics of human movement.
Bodies in Motion began its national tour in 1999 after Whitaker Center opened its doors to the public on September 9, 1999. The exhibit was developed by Whitaker Center, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and managed by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), in early 2000 through 2003. The exhibit is once again available to science centers and children’s museums, beginning May of 2007, and it will travel through 2010. Only having traveled for three years, the exhibit remains in good condition.
For exhibit schedule, please call 717/724-3872. Fax : 717/214-2791