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Prairie Science

History museums—their exhibits, sites, and programs—are emerging as promising new learning settings for informal science education. Especially in communities where museum-going families have limited access to science centers, historic sites and museums have begun answering the call for highly interactive, informal science experiences. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, is in the early stages of planning Prairie Science, a major exhibit and program venue that integrates scientific activity with the time- and place-specific narratives that characterize history-learning experiences. Developed around stories settings from Indiana's past, the informal STEM activities developed for this project will focus on energy sources, uses, and transformations as experienced throughout history. This focus includes basic concepts and technologies that connect naturally to this subject, such as mechanically transforming one form of motion into another, conservation of energy within a system, electric generators, motors and batteries, resistance, efficiency, momentum, comparisons with fuel-based energy technologies, and environmental impacts.