Presented in the iconic Great Hall, Connected Worlds immerses visitors in a fantastically animated world where your actions – gestures, movements, and decisions – impact how well the world is kept in balance.

There are six environments in Connected Worlds: jungle, desert, wetlands, mountain valley, reservoir, and plains. Each has its own trees, plants, and animals, but they share a common supply of water. The environments are fed by a central waterfall that is projected 38-ft high in the exhibitions and flows out across an interactive floor that spans 2,300 square feet. While interacting with Connected Worlds, visitors explore the interconnectedness of different environments, strategize to keep systems in balance and experience how individual and collective actions can have widespread impact.

As visitors explore and play, their actions – gestures, movements, decisions – have both short and long-term effects on the digital environments. These effects are based on core concepts of sustainability science including feedback loops, equilibrium in a dynamic environment, and casual links and influences.




To create the animated environments of Connected Worlds, NYSCI collaborated with Design I/O, a creative studio specializing in the design and development of cutting edge, immersive installations.

Additional partners include Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Yale University’s Cognitive Science Department, New York University’s Games for Learning Institute, game designer, programmer and conceptual artist Zach Gage, and Big Show Construction Management.

The Connected Worlds advisory board includes Dr. Ben Shneiderman, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland; Dr. Mitchel Resnick, professor of learning research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT’s Media Laboratory and director of the Okawa Center; Medard Gabel, CEO of Big Picture Small World; Dr. Barbara Tversky, professor of psychology and education at Columbia University; Dr. Andee Rubin, senior researcher for TERC; and Dr. Peter Gloor, research scientist at the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Connected Worlds is made possible with generous support from The JPB Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Google Inc., The Nasdaq Educational Foundation, Inc., Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Xylem.