About Discovery Through Design

Discovery Place’s Discovery Through Design, a LEGO Museum Initiative, is a stem and project-based program made possible through funding from the LEGO Playful Learning Museum Network. This program serves nearly 2,000 youth in Charlotte’s underserved communities and over 50,000 guests across three of Discovery Place’s Museums (Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Kids Huntersville, and Discovery Place Kids Rockingham).

Discovery through Design leads with Discovery Place’s mission to bring science, nature, and design together to create transformative experiences, and blends it with LEGO Network’s Learning through Play Philosophy to execute two branches of the initiative.

Branch 1: Engaging Our Community

Discovery Place created a museum-based design challenge across nine organizations and 15 sites. This design challenge, running for nine weeks, included a field trip where students visited the museums to gain inspiration for their design challenges. Afterwards, students returned to their sites to develop their ideas towards a final, finished product. To support students’ learning, site coordinators and facilitators were trained by staff at Discovery Place on how to implement the project, walking through the basic steps of design and completing their own mini design challenges.

Design challenges tackled during Discovery through Design were broken into two groups by grade bands: K-2 and 3rd through 8th grade.

Students will return to Discovery Place for another field trip upon completing their design challenges. This time, though, they will be attending the Discovery through Design Showcase with a family member as honored guests This summer exhibition is scheduled for June 23rd through June 26th to celebrate students’ completion of the project and to get a peek at how others tackled their challenges across Charlotte’s communities.

Branch 2: Learning Across Museums

Discovery through Design is also an initiative for Discovery Place to experiment with Unfacilitated Tinkering Experiences (UFTEs) across its three museums. Discovery Place intentionally placed UFTEs around the museums in ways that felt organic to the museum experience. UFTEs at Discovery Place Science and Discovery Place Kids locations are engaging experiences designed to address topics and concerns of sustainability and climate change, urban planning, architecture, light play, creative spins on traditional stories, and art.

Experiences and guest interactions with them were monitored and evaluated to produce learnings that are moving these UFTEs to more refined and polished experiences. The learnings also provide insight into the larger context for experience creation at Discovery Place Museums, tidbits of knowledge for museum staff as they create experiences to engage larger, diverse audiences.