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  1. MOXI is an interactive science center focused on physics topics such as forces, energy, sound, light, and magnetism. MOXI’s exhibits and education program are informed by Physics Education Research (PER) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As a result, MOXI is an outstanding laboratory for research on how people learn physics through interactive experiences and how best to support this learning. However, conducting research in public spaces with diverse audiences differs from classroom based research. These differences provide both opportunities and challenges. Effective research and program design requires multiple types of expertise including content, research design, and informal environments. In MOXI’s first two years of operation, we have conducted research across a wide variety of participants and topics through a research- practice partnership (RPP) model. This paper focuses on establishing RPPs and methodological considerations when conducting research in informal science education settings such as interactive science centers.
  2. The Next Generation Science Standards have incorporated engineering standards, requiring K-12 teachers to teach engineering. Unfortunately, teachers are ill-prepared and have little comfort to introduce these unfamiliar complex topics into their classrooms. The University of California at Santa Barbara and MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation partnered up to tackle this problem and bring physics-related engineering activities to teachers through the MOXI Engineering Explorations program. A key challenge has been creating activities so that they are effective learning opportunities for first graders (6 years old) through sixth graders (12 years old). Here, we present design guidelines for adapting activities for younger and older children. This framework is also useful for other physics outreach programs that work with wide a range of age levels.