The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech is working with Roanoke County middle school students to create engaging museum experiences that showcase ideas to improve their communities and also integrate ideas from the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. 

The work will be on display at the Science Museum of Western Virginia on Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s IDEA Studio assisted with the progress of the projects. Researchers from the studio teamed up with teachers to work closely with approximately 50 Glenvar Middle School students, who were encouraged to identify problems within their community, explore potential solutions, and design meaningful ways to share this work with a public audience, crafting a compelling user experience.

Teams of students worked together to create 12 exhibitions for the event, “What is your ‘better?’ Design for a better world.” One group designed a prototype of an anti-bullying robot to help reduce the incidence of bullying in the school. The robot would roam the halls to monitor for bullying language and actions, notifying school administrators when such actions are identified. Other projects included a solar car, a rooftop garden, and a secure medicine dispenser.

After finding inspiration from the students’ work, museum visitors will have the opportunity to create their own community solutions in a special design space. Participants are encouraged to answer the question, “What’s your better?” and use a variety of creative tools to build and play.

The exhibitions can be seen at the Science Museum of Western Virginia’s current location on the upper level of Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Va. This event is the result of a continuing partnership between the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the museum. The event is sponsored by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.



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