Mark and I did some scale-model wave tank testing this afternoon.  An initial test presented some hurdles (waves splashing over the far end of the tank, waves rebounding and creating mid-tank chaos, etc.).  Mark introduced a novel scale-model component (a scouring pad at the end of the tank) to disperse the wave energy and prevent the waves from bouncing back.

With this humble addition, the model tank performed admirably, providing practical reassurance that the proposed measurements for the final design will demonstrate the relevant concepts without soaking the floors.  Any handle, button, lever, knob or switch in an exhibit space must be built to accommodate a range of perceivable affordances.  If pulling the lever triggers an interesting result, pulling it ever harder and faster might produce even more interesting results.

This can sometimes put wear and tear on exhibit components, but it’s part of what makes hands-on exhibits fun for learners (and learning researchers, too).