The Open Lot Project Final Paper DN2 - Stanford danan/CDM-   1 Children’s...

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  • TheOpenLotProjectasEnvisionedbytheStanfordDesigningLearningSpacesTeamJune6,2008Education303X:DesigningLearningSpacesDavidHaynie,DanaNelson,SarahParikh,NesraYannierPreparedforProfessorD.Gilbert

  • i ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum:TheOpenLotProject

    TableofContentsBackground...................................................................................................................................................1

    Goals.............................................................................................................................................................2

    DesignProcess..............................................................................................................................................3

    InformationGathering..........................................................................................................................3

    Brainstorming,IdeaGeneration,andVetting.......................................................................................4

    DecidingonaDesign.............................................................................................................................4

    TheFence......................................................................................................................................................5

    Exhibits..........................................................................................................................................................5

    Exhibit1:PastAnimals..............................................................................................................................5

    Exhibit2:Ohlone.......................................................................................................................................7

    Exhibit3:SpanishMissionaries.................................................................................................................8

    Exhibit4:ChineseImmigrants..................................................................................................................9

    LearningandAssessment...........................................................................................................................11

    LearningfromNature..............................................................................................................................11

    LearningAssessment..............................................................................................................................11

    LearningTheory......................................................................................................................................12

    Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................12

    AppendixA................................................................................................................................................A1

    Personas................................................................................................................................................A1

    Scenario:ADayattheMuseum............................................................................................................A2

    AppendixB:FenceIdeas............................................................................................................................B1

    AppendixC:ListofOtherExhibitIdeas......................................................................................................C1

  • 1 ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum:TheOpenLotProject

    BackgroundTheChildrensDiscoveryMuseum(CDM)inSanJose,Californiaresidesonabeautifulstretchof

    parkadjacenttotheGuadalupeRiver.Throughoutthehistoryofthearea,theriverhasplayedavital

    roleinthelivesofthepeople,animalsandplantsthathavelivedthere.TheCDMishopingthatthe

    Guadalupemightenrichthelivesoftheirvisitorsaswell.ThroughtheirnewlyproposedOpenLot

    Project,themuseumwantstotransformtheparkareaimmediatelybehindthemuseumintoanexhibit

    thatcelebratesthewonderoftheoutdoorsaswellasconnectstheirvisitorstothesignificantnatural

    resourceintheirbackyard.TheCDMaskeduptothinkaboutwhattypesofexhibitsmighthelpcreatea

    sparkoflearningabouttheriverandtheoutdoors.Specifically,theyaskedustofocusonhowthefence

    neededtoenclosetheareacanalsobeanopportunityforlearning,bothforvisitorsandforthepeople

    whoareusingtheparkontheotherside.

    GiventhediversehistoryofthepeoplewhohavesettledalongtheGuadalupeRiverinthe

    vicinityoftheCDM,wedecidedtoincorporatethatrichhumanhistoryaswellasthenaturalworld

    alongtheriverintoourexhibitdesign.Thestorywewantedtotellwasofthehistoricalinhabitants

    alongtheriverandhowtheysurvivedbyusingandinteractingwithnature.Thespacewouldfocuson

    fourofthemajorgroupsthatlivedalongtherivertheOhloneIndians,theSpanishMissionaries,the

    Chineseimmigrants,andtheanimalslivingtherebeforeanyoneelse:

    Inthisdocument,weprovideasummaryofthegoalswehaveidentifiedforthespacealong

    withanoverviewofourdesignprocess.Thispaperalsooutlinesourideasforthefoursections,

    includingthehistorywehavebasedtheexhibitson,adescriptionoftheexhibit,andhoweachexhibit

    Map of the Outdoor Area at the CDM

  • 2 ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum:TheOpenLotProject

    relatestothefencearoundthearea.Inaddition,eachexhibitincludespossibleassessmenttasksto

    identifythelearningtakingplace.

    GoalsWecollectedinformationaboutthisprojectfromtheCDMwebsite,documentsonpreviousideas

    fortheBackLot/OpenLot,andconversationswiththemembersoftheCDMstaff.Asaresult,we

    havecompiledwhatwebelievearethegoalsofthespace:

    Connectthecommunitytothehistoryofthearea,includingtheimportanceoftheriverasalife

    sourcefordifferentanimalsandsettlerstothearea

    Connectthecommunitytonaturethroughobservationandmeaningfulinteractionswithit

    Engagechildrenandadultsintopicsthatcanbebuiltoninthefuture

    Offerinteractiveexhibitsthatrespondtochildren'sdiverseeducationalneeds

    Inviteselfdirected,openendedexploration

    Inspirewonderandcuriosity

    Tellastorythroughtheexhibit

    Createasunnydaydestination

    Attractandaccommodatelargenumberofvisitors(400,000annually)

    Inadditiontotheseoverarchinggoalsfortheexhibits,therewerealsoafewmusthavesforthedesign

    ofourfence.Theyare:

    Thefenceand/orsomepointofinterestintheOpenLotmustbevisiblefromthestreet

    Thefencemustbeasecureboundarytokeepthechildrenfromgettingoutsideandtoprevent

    outsideelementsfromgettingin(e.g.catsandpeoplewhohavenotpaidtovisit)

    Theexhibitsandfenceshouldbemodulartosomeextentasindividualpiecesmightneedtogo

    throughseveraldesigniterations

    Ourgoalswerealsoinformedbysomeofthejournalpapersandbookswereadthisquarter.From

    researchattheExploratorium,werealizedthattheentrywaytotheoutsideareaandthepathway

    throughtheexhibitsshouldbeclearlymarkedandvisible.Furthermore,partitionsandgroupingsof

    exhibitsonthesametopicmayalsohelpvisitorstomakeconnectionsbetweenexhibits.Afterreading

    thearticleabouttheAsiaTrailsexhibitattheNationalZoo,webecameinterestedinthematerialsthat

    thezoousesforfencing.Zoofencingisverysecureyetallowsfortransparency.TheCDMhassimilar

  • 3 ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum:TheOpenLotProject

    goalsfortheoutdoorexhibitboundaryaswell.Itmaybebeneficialtolookintothematerialsthatthe

    zoousesforfencesinadditiontoplaquesandwalkways.Lastly,thearticlewereadonthesolitaryor

    sharednatureofmuseumvisitsencouragedustoincludeexhibitsthatallowformultipleusersmaybe

    engagedatthesametimeinadditiontosomeexhibitsthatallowthesolitaryusertobecomeengaged.

    DesignProcessInitially,ourdesigntaskwasunderconstrained.Withthescopeandobjectiveoftheprojectnot

    defined,theblankslatewasbothanopportunityandachallengeaswenarrowedourfocusto

    somethingvaluableforusandmeaningfultothemuseum.Initially,wespentalargeportionofourtime

    gatheringinformationthroughinterviews,meetings,conferencecalls,research,andsitevisits.After

    iterationsofbrainstormingandidearefinement,wefocusedonathemeandexpandedeachexhibitidea

    withspecificsuggestionsincludinglearningassessments.Alistfromourbrainstormingcanbefoundin

    theappendix.

    InformationGathering

    InterviewsWekickedofftheprojectwithaconferencecallwithJenniMartin,DirectorofEducationatthe

    SanJoseChildrensDiscoveryMuseum.Wewereabletogetfromherthehistoryandbackgroundon

    theproject,aswellasfindoutaboutotherpeople,research,andmeetingsthatweneededtobeaware

    ofandcoulduseasvaluableresourcesinourwork.WemaintainedanopendialogwithJennioverthe

    remainderofourprojectandstayedinclosecontactviaemailandaseriesoffollowupcalls.Wealso

    enjoyedmeetingwithherpersonallyattheCDMduringoursitevisits.

    PerJennissuggestion,wescheduledanadditionalinformationalinterviewwithPeggy

    Monahan,DirectorofExhibitsattheCDM.Sheprovidedvaluableinsightsandcontexttotheproject.

    Shealsosharedwithusseveralofthepreviousproposalsfortheoutdoorspace.Thishelpedusto

    betterunderstandtheprogressioninthinkingthathadtakenplaceregardingtheOpenLotandthe

    currentexpectationsforit.

    MeetingsDuringourcallwithJenni,wewereinvitedtoanallhandsondeckeveningmeetingwiththe

    museumteamaswellasaguest,thenownotoriousRoachWrangler,broughtintostimulatethe

    creativeenergyinthegroup.ThismeetingallowedustomeetothermembersoftheCDMstaffand

    identifywhatqualitiesfortheoutdoorspacewereimportanttothem.

  • 4 ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum:TheOpenLotProject

    SiteVisitsTherearereallytwovaluableelementsthatwewereabletogainfromoursitevisits.Thefirst

    wasanopportunitytospendtimeobservingandinteractingwiththeexhibitsandguestsduringopen

    hours