Assembling a Torus: Family Mobilities in an Immersive Mathematics Exhibition

Molly L. Kelton, Jasmine Y. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we report on a video-based field study of an intergenerational family’s enactment of a mathematical object (a torus) in the context of an immersive mathematics exhibition in a science center. To do this, we center interwoven, multi-party mobilities at multiple scales–walking, gesturing, touching, and postural adjustments–as key aspects of how family members co-assemble a local, multi-layered set of meanings for a mathematical object. Drawing on and blending approaches from science and technology studies and interaction analysis we investiage how immersive museum exhibitions can enable particular patterns of visitor mobility and provisionally reconfigure relations among walking, sensing, and knowing. In contrast to what we describe as a sedentarist bias in studies of learning and cognition in museums, we argue that walking and other movements across a wide range of scales are constitutive of visitors’ interpretive accomplishments, rather than mere backdrop to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-347
Number of pages30
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • General Psychology


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