Living Lab

Learning comes alive

at the Children’s Museum in downtown Richmond through the Living Lab.

The Living Lab is a community-based learning laboratory designed to highlight the science of child development.

In partnership with the National Science Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Psychology, Living Lab brings college students, live research and developmental demonstrations to the museum to engage families in fun activities that illustrate children’s learning and development.

Since 2012, CMoR has provided opportunities for students from VCU to gain research experience on our museum floor while families see first-hand how their child is learning and developing as they engage in research demonstrations and also in active research studies.

Here are the two most recent studies conducted under the supervision of Dr. Marcia Winter, professor in VCU’s Department of Psychology:

  • Come to Your Senses (CTYS)

Focus: Children’s temperament, especially their sensory sensitivity. 

Children participated in a game to assess how readily they could adapt to shifting demands while their parents answered questions about their children.

  • Learning, Exploring, and Reasoning Novelty (LEARN)

Focus: How children react when they are faced with information that contradicts what they believe.

Children participated in a game where they sorted rocks into self-determined categories, then were given additional information about the rocks and asked to sort again to see at what age children begin to evaluate and incorporate new information.

Fast Facts About Living Lab:

  1. CMoR has hosted Living Lab for 9 years!
  2. VCU undergrads spend approximately 1,000 hours conducting Living Lab each year.
  3. An average of 2,000 children and their adults participate in Living Lab experiences each year.
  4. Living Lab research validates the value of PLAY in supporting children’s learning.
  5. Living Lab provides research demonstrations as well as conducts live research in the museum.