Secrets of Circles

You’ll learn how the circles that surround us make the world turn.

Circles are pretty amazing shapes. Explore the math, science, and engineering of circles.

Draw circles on a glow-in-the dark table, go on a circular scavenger hunt, use mirrors to experiment with symmetry, and build a gear contraption to turn a dancing doll. Observe examples of two- and three- dimensional circular forms and learn how circles aid engineers in solving problems.

Discover the Circles in Everyday Life

Look around, and you’ll see that circles are everywhere: in the wheels of a car, on the clock on the wall, on the tortillas on your table, and the frisbees and tops you play with.

Children of all ages can explore sophisticated mathematical concepts in a hands-on manner. Designed to encourage children ages 3-10 and their caregivers to engage fully in math, this exhibition offers multiple ways to appreciate the many uses of circles in nature and by people.

Play with ratios on the Gear Up! Table and get thinking about math. Get active turning the body-powered lathe machine. Preschoolers can explore circular objects like coconuts, oranges, and the Vietnamese round boat. Older children can contemplate the engineering and physical advantage of circles to solve problems, such as pulling heavy loads or providing architectural support.

Examples abound from our diverse Silicon Valley cultures. Mexican folklorico dancers demonstrate spinning circles; an Indian mandala shows how people use circles and symmetry; and a Vietnamese round boat demonstrates the functional nature of the shape.

This highly interactive 2000 sq. ft. exhibition features 18 exhibits designed to inspire children and adults to ask questions and investigate the many secrets of circles.

Made possible through the generosity of