Activities for the PERFORM theme explore how we apply our creativity to finding solutions to different challenges, environments, needs, and purposes, and to tweaking existing inventions for new uses.
Create a Piece of Protective Gear
Head injuries can be very serious. For activities that could cause head injuries, it is best to wear protective gear. This type of gear can protect a worker on a job site, an athlete in competition, or someone enjoying some physical activity.
What will you invent to protect a person’s head? How will you tweak your invention to make it better? Visit invention.si.edu/media to learn more about innovation in football helmets.
Build an Entertainment Venue
There are many ways to enjoy entertainment. One way is to be there as an event is happening, live. Plays, concerts, and sporting events all provide live entertainment. Sometimes people build special structures, or venues, to allow large numbers of people to enjoy the event at the same time.
What will your entertainment venue look like? What types of performances could happen in your venue? Try to spot some of this museum’s venues, which include a theater, two performance plazas, and a concert hall.
Invent Adaptive Game Controls
In 1967 inventor Ralph Baer built a model for the first video game system that allowed for two players and different games. Today, gamers of all abilities play at-home video games over the internet. Gamers find ways to make games more accessible and fun, while trying to gain a competitive edge.
How would you create game controls that people with different abilities can use? What kinds of controls will you create to increase your gaming performance? See Ralph Baer’s basement workshop at the entrance to this wing.
Invent a Puppet Character
Puppetry is one of the oldest performing arts. Performers move puppets using rods, strings, electronics, or their hand. Some of the most recognizable puppets are the Muppets, created by Jim Henson. Puppet characters can be anything from friendly monsters to singing frogs.
What will your puppet look like? What stories will you tell with your puppet? Visit American Stories on the second floor to see one of Jim Henson’s Muppets.
What will your puppet look like? What stories will you tell with your puppet? Look for one of Jim Henson’s Muppets in the museum as part of our roving exhibition Muppets on the Move.
Design Makeup for a Performance
Makeup, along with costumes, can be an important part of a performance. Makeup can turn any person into a whole new character. Innovative makeup artists use colors, tones, and creative techniques to change everyday people into princesses, heroes, villains, and even monsters.
What kind of character will you create? How does your makeup design let others know what kind of character you have created?
Design a Costume
Some of the most popular objects in this museum’s collections are costumes. These costumes are often connected to iconic characters or films. But we don't need to star in a movie to have a great costume. Costumes help us to step beyond ourselves to become anyone or anything.
What type of costume will you create? Where would you wear your costume? Visit 3 West to see Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
Tweak the Sound of a Stringed Instrument
Throughout history, people have created stringed instruments in all shapes and sizes. Together, an instrument’s design and how it's played create a unique sound. Modern inventors and innovators have used electrical power and electronic parts to create an even greater variety of sounds from a set of tightly wound strings.
What will you do to create your own unique stringed-instrument sound? How is your instrument played? Is it strummed or plucked? Does it use a bow, or is it tapped? Look for the violins and the Apache fiddle from the museum’s collection here in Spark!Lab.
Tweak a Skateboard Camera System
In 2020, skateboarding will become an Olympic sport. Highly skilled riders will perform for judges and viewers. Whether skaters are pros or skate for fun, they can use cameras to share their latest innovative tricks with the world.
How will you set up a camera to film skateboarding tricks? How could you tweak your setup so it stays out of the skateboarder’s way? Look for Rodney Mullen’s skateboard, on this level, in the display case near the Warner Brothers Theater.