The Science Park offers a range of interactive, scientific-based, playing and learning activities. Manufactured in Italy by Modo and Honorable Mention at Compasso d’Oro Prize in 2004, the Science Park promotes learning and interaction by using scientific concepts in high-quality, innovative products. Science Park is an integrated range of over 50 high-quality, innovative play equipment manufactured from high-quality materials including stainless steel with great sculptural appeal. Each item has an information panel, including instructions on how to play with the piece and an additional explanation of the simple scientific concepts covered. Landscape Designers can combine the products into single Science Park zones or scatter individual pieces throughout the landscape to create significant ‘found objects’.
Many of the products have a distinct sensory nature helping children where issues such as touch, sound or visual effects can have play benefits, as a result, the products are grouped into four associated categories:
SIGHT AND SOUND
The ﬁrst section Sight and Sound includes products which have visual and aural content! Some incredible pieces where illusions and reﬂections can stimulate some inspiring ideas, plus some great opportunities for children to make their own sounds.
ROTATING OPTICAL ILLUSIONS
A great set of traditional illusions replicated for outdoor play areas that mesmerize and confuse our interpretation of shapes and create a distortion of reality: vibrating shapes, mixing colours, and spires with three-dimensional effects. The rotating illusions are printed onto aluminium disks and mounted on a robust stainless pillar via a free-turning bearing. These are available in two sizes: Small – Ø 600mm and Large – Ø 1,200mm.
Distorted and incomprehensible images on the ﬂat surface only take shape and become meaningful when viewed through the reﬂection of a cylindrical mirror. A range of pictures are available for children to be surprised by. The pictures are printed on a Ø 600mm aluminium disk with a polished aluminium cylinder. The structure is mounted on a stainless steel support pillar.
A visual illusion, where children can have the experience of how concave and convex shapes can look alike and you are continually surprised by how much your brain is being deceived by the illusion brought in by your eye. The use of light and shadow enhances the visual perception that these images can be either concave or convex. The game is manufactured from three-dimensional casts created as resin mould mounted on a robust stainless supporting tubular framework.
FIXED OPTICAL ILLUSIONS BENCH
A chance to stop and rest on a bench with the opportunity of a visual game: panels with plenty of curiosities, contrasts, illusions and ambiguities that test our perceptive system out. Designed using a stainless steel bench from which to view the graphics. The bench is manufactured from Ø 40mm stainless steel tube frame and 8mm diameter seating rods. The graphics are printed onto aluminium panels supported by sturdy stainless steel frames.
FIXED OPTICAL ILLUSIONS
Four panels are arranged on two sides, showing the most famous optical illusions that question our perception and help us to better understand the eye-brain system. The structure is manufactured from Ø 60mm stainless steel tube, with aluminum game panels 2.5mm thick, with rounded corners for safety.
A mirrored surface like many others that surround us every day. But this is a place where we can play, where we can be transformed, where we can be lifted off the ground. And that’s not all: we can also understand why this is possible and familiarize ourselves with light reﬂecting properties. The structure is manufactured from stainless steel tube housing mirror-ﬁnished stainless steel reﬂecting panels. Dimensions: height 2.000 mm, depth 44 mm, length 960 mm.
A range of mirrored surfaces distort reality, making us appear very wide or very thin, very tall or very short, depending on the curvature of the mirror. It is a particularly fun installation which can also help us to understand the use of concave and convex mirrors in our daily lives. Each element is composed of highly polished stainless steel mirror-ﬁnished reﬂecting panels mounted onto a stainless tube structure. Dimensions fat/thin: height 1.900 mm, depth 170 mm, length 900 mm. Dimensions big/small: height 1.900 mm, depth 220 mm, length 960 mm.
A sturdy structure which can be installed at any height depending on the age group. When you enter the structure you ﬁnd your reﬂection endlessly multiplied and if friends come in too, you get a great crowded effect. A fantastic opportunity to explore light and reﬂection with friends or on your own, bring an object in with you and see what you can do! The structure is manufactured from mirror ﬁnish polished stainless steel panels 1,000mm high mounted on sturdy stainless steel legs.
A multi-equipped game based on visual functions which both entertain as well as provide an understanding of how we can expand our visual power using various instruments. The Visions Tree integrates three optical instruments in one – a microscope, a periscope and a telescope. The telescope and microscope both enable us to enlarge distant or small objects whilst the periscope increases our ﬁeld of vision by surmounting obstructions in our immediate ﬁeld of view. Manufactured from stainless steel, the game is mounted on a bearing enabling it to move through a full 360º ﬁeld of vision.
An unusual product which takes advantage of the Kaleidoscope effect. The vista in front of the viewer bounces across the reﬂecting panels inside the tube, multiplying in inﬁnite copies as you turn about 360º`. This gives rise to some spectacular effects particularly when sighted in a bright environment such as parks and gardens. Stainless steel structure with a Ø60 mm tube supporting element, Ø30 mm tube circular handle and Ø150 mm tube viewer element. Height 110 cm, Ø 90 cm.
THE IMPOSSIBLE TRIANGLE
An unusual object that cannot be recognized unless viewed from a particular angle. The discovery can be astonishing, helping children to become curious and inquisitive and causing us to question the complex function of our eye-brain perceptive system. This game is composed of two elements: a stainless steel structure (triangular volumetric element manufactured from a 100 x100 mm square tube and Ø 60 mm support) and a distant element (viewﬁnder), manufactured from a Ø 60 mm stainless steel tube and a disk with a hole in the center. The two elements are ideally placed 8m apart to obtain the best optical effect. Height 150 cm, width 85 cm, length 110 cm.
SPEAK INTO THE TUBE
A great game for children to have fun with and socialize. A series of eight mouthpieces are connected to one another to create four pairs of ‘speaking tubes’. These are arranged in an eccentric pattern which challenges us to discover which of our friends will reply at the other end. They are usually arranged to form a circle so that a gathered emplacement is created, but it is possible to create a bespoke design with the 4 couples of connections which is only limited by the maximum distance of 50m between the mouth/ear pieces of each couple. The structure is manufactured from robust stainless steel tubing connected underground using ﬂexible tubing.
An imposing 18m long structure with an impact that cannot help but attract attention. Clap your hands and listen to the sound that comes back – is it the same? This is not just a game, but also an opportunity to reﬂect on sound and its behaviour when it travels in a conﬁned space and is reﬂected back to you. Have a conversation with yourself! The tube has a stainless steel mesh covering. Height 100 cm, width 73 cm, length 1800 cm.
A wonderful piece of equipment to demonstrate how sound waves can be focused to enable them to travel over distance. The game is based on two large parabolas that face each other over a distance, one child whispers into one parabola, and despite the surrounding noise of the playground, the whispering can be heard by the other. Without any ampliﬁcation, a clear vocal signal can be transmitted over a large distance. The large Ø 1,800mm stainless steel parabolas have safely rounded edges and are mounted on a robust stainless steel tubular support frame.
An aural experience derived from different height stainless steel tubes producing sounds with different tones. This is the ﬁrst impression, but if we listen harder, we will notice that not only the sound and the tones but also vibrations, frequencies and resonances are present. Structure in stainless steel tube manufactured from elements with different diameters: 30, 40, 48 mm. Organ pipes hearing height from the ground of 1,100 mm. Height 420 cm, width 110 cm, length 200 cm.
An intriguing piano design which takes children into the world of sounds and waves. By turning the handle the glockenspiel-like wood laths move with a perfect wave. The motion also makes hammers move and produces sounds from the wood blocks. But for older children who get involved, enter the interesting and complex world of waves, frequency and amplitude. The supporting structure is manufactured from Ø 40mm stainless steel, and the wood sound blocks are manufactured from Iroko dim 40x40mm. Height 110 cm, width 100 cm, length 120 cm.
Let’s try to imagine what sounds could be like at unusual heights. Thanks to these “gigantic ears”, particularly suited to tree-lined walks, we can listen to the wind, birdsong, and the rustling of leaves. Both amusing and contemplative. AISI 304 stainless steel stand Ø 101,6mm. stainless steel ear structure Ø 60mm. with cone-shaped endings Ø 270mm. (bottom), Ø 1070mm. (top). Height 5000mm.
VOICES OF AIR
By using the pumps children can push the air through the tubes, over the whistle and hear the sound. A simple but effective game showing the effects of forcing air through an instrument to discover musical notes. With a group of children together, they can create a symphony of sound and hold concerts with friends! The supporting structure, blowing pump elements, sound emission tubes with a whistle and conical ‘bell’ are all manufactured from stainless steel tubes.
A pleasant musical instrument, composed of a series of tubular bells and provided with an inner knocker that produces restful natural sounds when exposed to the currents of air. This static ‘installation’ piece of ‘oversized’ tubular bells, typical of many back gardens throughout the UK, can add an extra dimension to any sensory park where sounds, visual and touch sensations combine to create an overall collage to stimulate and rouse our senses. The parabolic supporting structure is manufactured from in Ø 90 mm stainless steel and the sound element of Ø30 mm brass tubes of different lengths, suspended from an annulus. Height 500 cm, length 230 cm.
A great aural experience, the Rain Circle is like a kind of rudder that when rotating, emits sounds similar to the marine backwash from a boat like rain, ﬂ owing water or the wave that crashes on the seashore. The supporting pillar is manufactured from Ø 60mm stainless steel tube; the circle-shaped rudder is mounted and rotates on sturdy bearings and is made from Ø 22mm tube with Ø 60mm crossed tubes. Height 140 cm, width 56 cm, length 66 cm.
A magniﬁcent gigantic pianoforte! Enter a ‘Lilliputian’ world where small children can create big symphonies – by playing on a giant piano and hopping from note to note. The notes are played when the children step from key to key, or jump on and off the pianoforte. They can compose their own music and, in groups of two or three, even produce chord sequences and more complex compositions. Available with either 7 or 12 notes, the Fortepiano game is made up of individual ‘sound box’ modules 120mm high, 1,250mm deep and 100mm wide manufactured in stainless steel. These are placed side by side with each sound box emitting a speciﬁc note. Each module is made up of a 1.5mm thick box in stainless steel, with an inner sonorous mechanism, which is composed of levers and hammers and strikes a harmonic bar provided with its own harmonic note. The module has an inner speed reducer and a series of pads to cushion the foot push.
WATER AND FLUIDS
The calming effects of Water and Fluids are a great aid to concentration. Children are instantly drawn to the movement of ﬂuids and how to manage and control their ﬂow. Here there are some impressive products which use centuries-old ideas in a modern context.
A great way for children to be competitive and have fun – using water pumps you can push the water through the pipes and try to get a jet as high as possible. This helps to understand the connection between water pressure and water speed, and at the same time challenge your friends in funny water games. Supporting structure made up of robust stainless steel tube. Pumping elements are set on Ø50 mm stainless steel tubing and connected to Ø 30mm stainless steel spraying tubes. Height 220 cm, width 200 cm, length 280 cm.
A great game for two or more children – with a rotating seat and a built-in pump they are capable of spraying water over a 360º area. From a learning perspective, children can reﬂect on the nature of water and its potential power. How far can you shoot the water jet? Is it the same each time? Or is it just a great way of keeping cool on a hot summer’s day? Two or more stations, set at a proper distance, can create a game area where children can interact with each other using only splashes of water. The seating element is composed of a turned stainless steel disc, covered with anti-slip material, connected to a robust load-bearing tube. The game requires a reservoir of water to feed the water jet. The spraying element is manufactured wholly from stainless steel leading to a Ø 240mm conical ‘mouthpiece’.
An intriguing installation designed to create interest in the mechanics used in moving water up from a lower bowl to an upper one. It relates to the well-known principle of the mathematician Archimedes, who used the screw method to pump water up from rivers to irrigate ﬁelds. The Archimedes screw is great for young children providing one of those never-ending streams of water – how the water appears to remain static yet move slowly up an incline. Why not trace the progress of a spot? Place a small stick at the bottom and follow its progress as it travels up the water elevator! The water travels up the screw, and into an upper pan, which then tips into a lower pan before being returned to the main reservoir. Alternatively, integrate the unit with a fountain or pond for a holistic effect. The whole structure is manufactured from stainless steel including the bowls, screws, tubing and support structure. Height 130 cm, width 110 cm, length 260 cm.
A game meant for younger children. Easy to handle, it’s an involving and interactive set-up. The water, running on the slide, falls alternatively on the two big wheels and makes them rotate at different speeds. Their rotating motion could be easily transmitted to millstones, machinery or even propellers! We named the game after Leonardo the man who was one of the ﬁrst to understand the importance of these machines driven by water. The game requires a constant water supply or can be used with children and just a bucket! The structure is manufactured completely in stainless steel including; a fountain, slide bowl (shaped plate and a Ø 22mm rod on the edges), the two rotating elements and the main structure. Height 85 cm, width 45 cm, length 320 cm.
The Whirlpool is an amazing visual game in which movement, shapes and physics all come together. By turning the central ‘steering wheel’, children can make the two contrasting liquids rotate very quickly allowing them to see how the surface of liquids forms a parabolic shape. The idea of using a rotating liquid to create a perfect parabolic surface was ﬁrst proposed by Sir Isaac Newton and later used as the principle behind the liquid mirror telescope – a groundbreaking concept used in modern powerful astronomical telescopes. The centrifugal force created as the Whirlpool turns causes the liquid to climb the walls of the container creating a great visual effect. Height 140 cm, width 50 cm, length 50 cm.
TRADITION WITH A TWIST
The third section includes ‘traditional’ play equipment such as see-saws and roundabouts – but there they have a fabulous ‘twist’! We all know what a see-saw does, but what if you could change the position of the seat so that a child and an adult could balance?
One child sits on the stool holding the two handles on either side of the wheel. A friend then spins the wheel as hard as possible. Take your feet off the ground, incline the handles and experience the gyroscopic effect as the stool ‘magically’ turns in the direction you point! But then what happens if you try to turn it back? A rotating seat that really gets children’s imagination thinking about motion. The product is manufactured from hard-wearing stainless steel with a safer surface seat. The wheel is made from glass ﬁber to ISO 5470, supported by stainless tubing.
A simple piece of play equipment in the shape of a shell has been designed to give children that centrifugal experience. Large enough for children to stretch out comfortably, with a friend to push or on their own, children have fun in letting themselves go and relaxing in the irregular rotating movements. The ‘cup’ is manufactured from robust and hardwearing stainless steel making it suitable for any environment. Similarly, the rotation pivot and support frame of the structure are also manufactured from stainless steel tubes.
A great variation on the roundabout/Dutch Disc theme but mounted slightly higher. The children can climb onto the oval face with its axis off-centre and try and keep their balance as it rotates. How different or how easy is it to move when you start by standing over the axis and steadily move outwards?! The surface has an anti-slip surface material and the edges are rounded for safety. The sturdy supporting pillar is of robust stainless steel. The mushroom is 650mm wide and 940mm long and sits 560mm off the ground.
A traditional Dutch Disc design with a huge Ø2.5m diameter play area. A great activity for a group of friends trying to keep their balance, testing centrifugal force or simply playing a roundabout game. Can the children maintain coordination of their movements and hold their position? The disc is manufactured from robust stainless steel with the bed covered with an anti-slip safer surface material and a stainless tube around the perimeter of the disc.
Climb aboard the roundabout to feel the giddiness of the centrifugal force! A great game for exploring centers of gravity by adjusting your barycenter you can rotate yourself. The main column is manufactured from Ø 48mm stainless steel tube, with a supporting base covered with anti-slip material. The arch support is also manufactured from a stainless steel tube.
An amazing see-saw that rotates on itself with incredible, sinuous movements. Simply push and go and the see-saw will ‘rock and rotate’ with you – a true feeling of ﬂying! The see-saw is also ﬁtted with a speed limiter which ensures that it does not exceed a safe speed, making it great fun for anyone over 6 years old. The main pillar is manufactured from a robust stainless steel tube, with arched support also stainless steel tube as are the seats with safety handles. The rotating structure in the upper part of the game is composed of two couples of conical elements that are further joined together with a stainless tube.
A classic sea-saw with a technical twist. This traditional see-saw has an integral mechanism which, by turning a wheel, allows the bed of the see-saw to move along the pivot to create an uneven longer and shorter side. This enables a child and a parent to balance despite the weight difference – a great learning experience based on leverage! One of the oldest and perhaps best-loved games for young children to play with their parents – a game of real communication, which other games do you constantly face your partner? This enables kids to interact with their friends whilst looking straight at them – great interaction/communication. The horizontal element is manufactured from square-section stainless steel with tubular stainless support arches and handles. Two versions are available for two people or a larger one for four.
A fun game that stimulates children to ﬁnd new positions, cope with changes in speed as well and learn the basis of rotational movement. Like skaters, children are able to perform amazing pirouettes – like turning on a sixpence! The movement unit is cast iron mounted on a ball race, with the base covered in a chequered plate and a safe surface. The support column is manufactured from a stainless steel tube with an Ø 80mm spherical handle.
The classic sand pit is a fun and constructive way to play. A 2,000 mm. parabolic container in 3 mm stainless steel plate with safe rounded edges. Supports manufactured from Ø40 mm stainless steel tube. A real traditional game for young children, with its water-like qualities, the sandpit gives hours and hours of enjoyment – sifting and moving or building roads, buildings and whole towns! Height 70 cm, Ø 200 cm.
A zip wire! This device allows children to feel the sensation of ﬂying and throwing themselves into the air in complete safety. Let yourself be transported from one end of the cable to the other and challenge your playmates to see who can make it to the other side. The supporting pillar is manufactured from Ø 200 mm tube, with the trestle at either end in Ø 48 mm tube, and shields from Ø 40 mm tube, all stainless steel. Stainless steel sliding cable. Height 430 cm, width 200 cm, length 2400 cm.
MECHANICS AND GRAVITY
The ﬁnal section is Mechanics and Gravity – this is heavy stuff! Here there are some really challenging games for older children who have a curiosity about all things mechanical and moving. Using pulleys and levers to understand just how our ancestors built things is still relevant today.
A lenticular wheel suspended by a chain with two handles fastened to the supporting framework on either side. The wheel is mounted on a bearing enabling it to rotate. Spin the wheel stand around the barrier and see how the gyroscopic effect works! Manufactured with a robust stainless steel tubular framework, The wheel is suspended by a stainless steel chain and manufactured from glass fibre.
With a small amount of effort, you can move a very big load! This is a simple machine which demonstrates the use of levers and how they can be applied in our everyday lives. Archimedes ﬁrst described the principle which we can now see applies to wheelbarrows, nutcrackers and even see-saws! Three-stepped lever elements are manufactured from stainless steel tubes with sandblasted concrete weights fastened to the ends. Supporting structure in tubular stainless steel.
An installation which clearly demonstrates the principle of mechanical advantage. Not just a way of lifting weights but a demonstration of how throughout time people have used this means of lifting to push forward the capabilities of construction. Sandblasted concrete spheres are suspended by stainless traction cables over a series of pulleys ending with a nylon rope to operate the system. The supporting framework is manufactured from robust stainless steel tubing.
A visual illusion which looks like a strange shaped object but is effectively a double cone, mounted onto two diverging rails, which appears to go uphill. But it’s just an illusion: it balances at the top of the poles because its centre of gravity (when moving from the start position to the end) is actually lower. The track system is manufactured from a robust 60mm diameter stainless steel tube, with the conical roller manufactured from glass fibre running on a stainless rod.
This anemometer is used in making precise measurements of wind speeds and directions. A wholly educational tool children can systematically register wind stream and direction, to make regular weather condition notes. It can be useful to ﬁnd out that when it rains or snows, some deﬁned conditions occur repeatedly. Supporting structure made up of Ø 90 mm stainless steel tube. Height 350 cm, width 110 cm, length 170 cm.
A chance to see “by hand” how different materials conduct electricity. The handset is made of AISI 304 stainless steel plate with an anti-slip covering. The device for detecting electricity is attached to the Ø 40mm. tubular, supporting structure.
Horology and time! The principle is demonstrated here using a sundial as used by our ancestors. A simple sun-dial which tells the time with the shadow produced by our body shape. The columns and hour markers are manufactured from 100mm diameter stainless steel tubes mounted on a semicircle of laser-cut stainless plate. A further stainless plate placed in the centre of the arc marks the months of the year. The most ancient and still reliable way of telling the time by the hours. This stylish sundial in the style of the whole of the science park range can be mounted to give children an insight into the movement of the sun and the passing of time … is it tea time yet or can we play for a little more time …!