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Explainers as Designers

Incorporating youth-designed mobile apps into the museum experience

Explainers” are part of the Science Career Ladder (SCL), an education and employment program to train low-income and minority high school and college students to be the frontline staff who help enhance visitors’ educational experience at the New York Hall of Science. They interpret the hands-on science exhibitions, perform science demonstrations and activities, and facilitate programs and workshops with school groups.

Iridescent Learning ran the Explainers as Designers program during summer 2011. Over seven weeks, 55 New York Hall of Science Explainers participated in a version of the Technovation Challenge, a national program that teaches high school girls how to design and program mobile apps. The Explainers’ design challenge was to create a mobile app for an exhibition at the museum that would promote visitor engagement.

The Explainers learned about coding through App Inventor, design thinking and app development, how to write a business plan, and how to develop and formulate a pitch. They worked in four teams to create and prototype a mobile app for Android phones and pitched their apps to a panel that include the President of New York Hall of Science and senior exhibition staff at a culminating Pitch Night.

The two winning apps Bio-Hatcher and Molecule Rush were developed professionally and are available for download in the Android Marketplace and the iPhone app store.

This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust in 2011.

Lead Organization:
Iridescent Learning

Partner Organizations:
New York Hall of Science

Project Goal:
To give youth the skills and confidence to be successful in computer science and entrepreneurship.

Project Tags:
STEM, Webmaking

Project Portfolio

  • teaching resources


    Lesson plans, Powerpoint presentations, tutorials and workshop materials for the Explainers as Designers mobile app development program.

  • sample works

    Molecule Rush App

    One of the winning apps designed to be used with the Build a Molecule Model exhibition at the New York Hall of Science.

  • sample works

    Bio Hatcher App

    One of the winning apps designed to be used with the Build a Molecule Model exhibition at the New York Hall of Science.