The Science Behind Pixar at the Franklin Institute



Ever wonder what it takes to make your favorite movies? Philly’s Franklin Institute brings families behind the scenes in its newest offering, The Science Behind Pixar, a traveling exhibit that makes its first run in Philly March 12-Sept. 5.

The 10,000-square-foot exhibit features more than 40 hands-on activity stations and videos that highlight the science, technology, engineering, math and creativity that make  each family-favorite film its own world.

"The Franklin Institute is “constantly looking for new, fresh ways to ignite an interest in STEM,” says CEO and president Larry Dubinski. The Science Behind Pixar, curated by the studio and the Museum of Science in Boston, translates mathematical and scientific techniques into kid-friendly concepts that aim to do just that.

The exhibit spans Pixar’s 16 movies, from 1996 classic Toy Story to The Good Dinosaur, released last November. Along the way, video interviews with production team members and interactive elements provide a firsthand look at eight aspects of the production pipeline, from modeling & rigging to sets & cameras, animation and lighting.

At one activity station that examines how shapes rotate, a twist of a handle transforms a simple line into a balloon straight out of “Up!” In another, find out how mathematical equations are the driving force behind Lightning McQueen’s shiny metal coat. Aspiring Spielbergs can even direct their own mini-movie by positioning and photographing a black extension lamp — the studio’s mascot. Before you leave, be sure to snap a selfie with Dory from Finding Nemo and WALL-E.

While the cast of characters and hands-on fun in Pixar is sure to be a hit with the kids, it's also a fantastic display of the many facets of STEM education — and how much fun it can be.

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