The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2013,

The Works

The Works is where kids explore how things work.

We are a hands-on museum that inspires kids to explore engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through fun, interactive exhibits and cool programs. Kids use the Engineering Design Process to build, create and solve a variety of engineering challenges.

Kids bring their natural curiosity to The Works and leave with a sense of pride and self-confidence that they can build, invent, create and do much more than they ever imagined. Kids create moments of discovery: a paper tube becomes a flashlight with simple circuitry, or for an especially imaginative child, perhaps that flashlight becomes a light saber, magic wand or deep space exploration tool.

We serve 70,000 people annually through family visits, school field trips, workshops and programs we bring directly into schools. The Works is the Twin Cities' expert in elementary engineering education. We make it fun, memorable, and easy.

What new functionality we are looking for

We want our website to engage our community and bring our mission to life online. Our ideal website will be:

1) More editable - We hope to replace our old CMS (Fishbone) with something more modern and functional;

2) More mobile - Currently we're leaving our phone and tablet-toting museum-goers in web purgatory;

3) Easier to use - We need a shopping cart process that makes it easy to schedule groups and field trips, reserve a birthday party room, purchase memberships, and make donations to support The Works. Our current website is getting in the way and making our community frustrated!

4) More interactive - We don't have a place to collect blog posts, videos, or activities. Our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are lonely outposts cut off from our website!

5) Cooler - This part's up to our nerd team! Help us project an aura of engineering and technology coolness! Kids and teachers love how fun and cool our museum is, but you'd never know it from our website.

How the new functionality will help

Our website is stagnant in comparison to our vibrant and growing museum. It doesn't reflect our leadership role in elementary engineering. It's not fun, engaging, or easy to use - all things visitors love about our museum!

A new website will allow us to better engage teachers, parents and kids online. In short, we'll be able to service our community more efficiently and effectively, and extend The Works's impact beyond the walls of our museum.

We moved to our own permanent home in Bloomington in November 2011 and are poised to bring engineering fun to more families, schools and kids than ever before. A new website will help us be a more complete, responsive and visitor-focused organization during an exciting and transformative time in our history.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

65 Messages from Supporters

2013-02-06 14:21:52 UTC

The Works has an awesome vision badly needed in today's world of school cuts. Hands on, minds on- that is how kids learn! The works so gets this! Engineering and technology are things everyone will need to know... And yes their website is lagging behind the vision.

2013-02-06 03:49:51 UTC

My family loves The Works. We've visited as a family, attended special events like Robot Day and Tech Fest, and my son has participated in summer camp. I've been blown away by the impact on my kids. My 6-year-old now wants to invent robots, light sabers, a system to make Mars habitable, and a hundred other "cool things" based on what he's learned. I love that he comes home excited to invent and be creative. The Works is a great resource for Twin Cities kids and families.

2013-02-06 04:25:12 UTC

The Works is awesome! It has so many hands-on activities for my daughter to figure out and learn about science and engineering in a super fun way. She has a ton of fun and learns so many fundamental, basic, and necessary skills for the 21st century. we feel so fortunate to have access to such a wonderful, useful, educational, and eye-opening museum.

2013-02-06 04:26:44 UTC

The works is a fantastic place! My kids have enjoyed the summer camp programs so much--we even drive 1.5 hours to take them there!

2013-02-06 04:27:32 UTC

One of the Twin Cities best kept secrets! The Works is a homeschool mom's dream field trip. Always look forward to our adventures in learning.

2013-02-06 04:30:22 UTC
Nana Banana

My 6 year old granddaughter recently went to THE WORKS with her first grade class. She had a great time and came home talking about it. It would be great to be able to go online with her and follow up on the things she learned there.

2013-02-06 04:30:52 UTC

This is one of Minneapolis' best kept secrets for sure. My daughter's and I love going. There are so many hands on activities for kids (and parents) to enjoy while learning about physics and engineering. I am so glad we stumbled upon this gem of a museum so close to home.

2013-02-06 04:45:53 UTC

The Works is a great place to explore, play and discover how stuff is made. My kids have fun and I learn something new each time we go. Weather my children are bending light, playing the harp, building forts, creating electrical currents, or learning how their favorite toys work, the works is a fun learning destination.

2013-02-06 04:47:29 UTC

I introduced my nephew (then only 1.5 years old) to the Works on a rainy day when he was staying with me. Even at this young age, he found kindred engineering spirits amongst the big foam blocks as he built and knocked down wall after wall, giggling the whole time. This is one of our favorite hangouts now when he comes to visit me. I love that he can move freely around the space doing science for awhile in one place, then doing it again somewhere else. Now that he's older, he really likes racing cars down the ramp with the other kids that are there, playing the air harp and checking out the zoetrope. Great place!

2013-02-06 05:40:23 UTC

The Works is an amazing place. I took classes there as a kid and they steered me into the engineering and sciences field. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I grew up, but after my first class at the Works I knew that I wanted to be an engineer or a scientist. The hands on activities and the many cool experiments were so much fun that I wanted to keep going to their camps every summer even though I was twice as tall as I once was. They are so friendly and teach the fundamentals of engineering so well that I recommend them to anyone who is looking to enrich their child's life. They changed my life for the better, and I know that they will change many more. Rock on, The Works!

2013-02-06 06:12:03 UTC
Emily J Hensley

My family came to The Works while we were on vacation. We have a seven year old daughter and she had so much fun at the works. She loved the earthquake station best. We went to The Works because of the reciprocality of the ASTC program. In Indiana the public school my daughter goes to teaches no science, and no history. Until third grade they teach only reading, writing and math. We believe that all children she be exposed to science, and we seek out child centric science centers. The Works is a great example of making science fun. My daughter, my husband and I all had a great time at this hidden gem. I have family in Minnesota and The Works is now a 'we HAVE to go' whenever we are in town. On our next trip we plan on taking some cousins and hope to get them to get a membership, if they visit us we can take them to museums here in Indianapolis! Thanks The Works for understanding that kids love science because science is FUN!

2013-02-06 11:13:13 UTC

We love The Works! Two boys - 1 and 6 - and both are happy, entertained, and challenged. Best part for me - so many of their stations don't need a parent explanation. Going to bigger science/children's museums usually requires leaving the baby with a babysitter so I can read and explain all the steps. The Works is truly kid-friendly! Wish there was a second location in the North Metro - we would go all the time.

2013-02-06 15:01:46 UTC
Kristen S.

The Works is a great place! My kids love going. It is a Must see for kids who enjoy hands on learning.

2013-02-06 15:01:50 UTC

The Works is an amazing place where kids learn that they are already engineers, and that engineering is for absolutely everyone! Creativity and innovation go hand in hand with learning at this wonderful entrepreneurial non-profit. They are small in size, but are doing big things in the community. They accomplish more with less than any other museum I know. If any organization could make the most of a website redesign, it would be The Works.

2013-02-06 15:25:27 UTC

This organization is a great asset to Families in the Twin Cities and I think they could utilize a new website really well for all the camps, events and teacher training that they do.

2013-02-06 16:24:36 UTC
Anna Ourada

Please give The Works a new website!

2013-02-06 18:50:02 UTC

Where would we be without the the spirit of ingenuity and innovation that programs like this cultivate? We must attract more kids to science, technology, engineering and math fields. The intersection of it all is the future of our country! The Works provides an awesome environment for try, try again, and make it better…it inspires our next generation of innovators. And, on a more personal note, my two boys LOVE IT THERE, but it is a far drive for us. An updated web interface may allow them to keep the spirit alive without us having to drive.

2013-02-06 19:00:58 UTC

This is a fabulous place for curious kids! All hands-on, all the time: many concepts of physics made accessible and fun. Do you have a child who's reluctant about science? Bring them--they'll have a great time! Super friendly staff too.

2013-02-06 19:29:34 UTC
Jen Foley

You know, nerds are not just born, they must be nurtered too. The Works is a wonderful, interactive space for those of us trying to mold the future generation of nerds. And nerds and nerd parents need really good websites.

2013-02-06 21:46:00 UTC
maggie nathan

I just visited The Works for the first time and it was so wonderful. It really made me wish that my kids were little again- it would have been a great way to introduce them to the world of engineering, innovation and the basics of how things work! They are highly creative but were never exposed to all the ways that creativity can be put to work!

2013-02-06 22:03:58 UTC

You can hardly pick up a newspaper today and not see an article about the critical need for more STEM education. The Works is an important part of that network, encouraging young people, as natural makers and innovators, to explore engineering in a fun,interactive way. They are providing an enormously valuable program for kids in our community -- I endorse them wholeheartedly for this project!

2013-02-06 22:06:33 UTC
Jane Le

What a great place for kids -- and what a great way for kids to learn! There are so many unhealthy distractions for kids these days. Why not support an endeavor that has a truly positive influence on them, their families and the future? More power to The Works!

2013-02-06 22:08:35 UTC

I love The Works because it shows that engineering can be fun! What a great way to get kids engaged in science concepts by having a totally hands on museum, great classes and camps, and awesome events that happen throughout the year.

2013-02-06 22:10:20 UTC

Hey Nerds!

The Works is your kind of peeps. I think you'd be making a mistake (I almost said betrayal, but didn't)if you didn't select them for your overnite web challenge.

2013-02-06 22:18:53 UTC

Kids need so much more than the 3R's --reading, writing, and arithmetic -- of the past. They need to think BIG! By learning to solve problems creatively and collaboratively, today's kids are going to be prepared to participate in this wild and wonderful knowledge-based world. The Works provides this opportunity to all kids... from all walks of life. Just to prove it, The Works provides subsidies to schools who can't pay the full cost of their programs. Now, doesn't an organization such as this deserve a beautifully functioning new website that can reach more kids and their families?

2013-02-06 22:27:26 UTC

A great place to bring even very little kids-- my older guy loves the K'nex car racing, and my five year old loves the blocks! Teaches kids about STEM!

2013-02-06 23:50:16 UTC
Diana S.

THE WORKS is simply an amazing place. It captures the imagination of kids (of all ages), who love the chance to touch, play, and build. Our kids (ages 6-13) have loved the summer camps. Their favorite area in the Works has the building blocks, where they can create fortresses and engineer super-structures. The Design Lab is a fantastic new addition to the Works!

2013-02-06 23:53:08 UTC

The Works really has something for everyone. It's a place you can take your whole family and know that everyone is going to have a good time.

2013-02-06 23:57:51 UTC

The Works is an appealing, friendly place but their website is anything but... They desperately need a new and improved site!

2013-02-07 00:57:14 UTC

The Works is a place where I've learned how things work right along with my two children. I LOVE that they support all children learning about engineering (yes, it is COOL!) and that they have a special place in their hearts for GIRLS involved in engineering!

The Works museum is a family-friendly place; kids safely explore while parents stroll along in their wake, or sit in a chair and rest/read!

2013-02-07 02:54:41 UTC

I am a grown man. I have a full time job and a 401k and I know about mortgages. I spent a full 3 hours here, and was sad when it was time to leave because I was trying to beat my wife's car down a timed ramp. I guess it is fun for kids too? I dunno, I am not a kid, they have so many things to do that I bet kids dig it as well.

2013-02-07 03:45:23 UTC

I always go to the Works on Family day. My 2 brothers and I compete to see who can build the fastest K'NEX car. The youngest usually wins. I (the oldest) win the most intricate marble displacement structure. The middle brother is an artist with the rubber building blocks. I'm in AP Physics, FIRST Robotics and PLTW classes at my high school and i can apply my knowledge of science, engineering and math to teach my brothers about robots, machine, structures and physics. Its really a "Nerding-out center" but you feel cool doing it. Its a fuel source for my ADHD because there is simply so much to do. People of any age or academic proficiency can receive some sort of learning from going to the Works. I am technically an adult now but going to the Works makes me (and people of any age) feel like a kid again. I love the Works!

2013-02-07 04:04:19 UTC

The Works is a great place to play. The teachers were able to answer questions about the science behind the exhibits. Can't wait to go back!

2013-02-07 05:43:27 UTC

I love that my boys can learn about science in an interactive and fun way at the Works.

2013-02-07 14:40:15 UTC

My grand kids really enjoyed being here and learning here.

2013-02-07 17:11:21 UTC

The Works is a Twin Cities hidden gem. A great place for children and families to spend the day exploring, discovering and building. Since discovering The Works it is my kids "go to" place.

2013-02-07 19:16:21 UTC

The Works is an incredible place that inspires learning and has a bright future.

2013-02-07 20:41:31 UTC

What an amazing place! The Works brings kids and adults together to explore, discover and experiment hands-on. It's hard to leave! Nerdery, please help make it hard to leave their website, too!

2013-02-07 21:15:43 UTC
Chuck Whittemore

The Works exists at time when America is recognizing the need to be the innovators and creators in our global economy. Where do our children learn to be innovative? Certainly it begins at home and supported in school, but it comes alive at The Works. One challenge The Works faces is letting people know about who they are and what they do, and their online presence is critical for The Works to tell their story in a relevant way. That is where The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge comes in - they can play an important role in the future success of not only The Works, but in the lives of our children now and well into the future.

2013-02-07 21:24:38 UTC

I've brought my grandchildren to The Works several times and have enjoyed it as much as they have. The Twin Cities area is rich with museums for kids, but this is the best for interactive, creative play, and it's the only one focused on engineering and innovation. I love it when they beat me at programming the bug robot!

2013-02-07 21:53:47 UTC

Our family loves coming to The Works. All of us - kids and adults - learn something new everytime. It's great to see how much fun kids can have while learning important facts about science. It's the best way for kids to learn and get engaged with science.

2013-02-07 22:08:26 UTC

My 5 and 7 year old boys beg to go to The Works and then drag their feet when it's time to go home. They LOVE going upstairs to attempt the latest challenge and then they find a new favorite activity each time we are downstairs. Sometimes it is racing cars they've built using the K'nex pieces while other times it is cooperating with other kids to build a tower of blocks almost as tall as the ceiling. I love that everything is kid-friendly and hands-on. It's perfect for young kids like mine but the adults invariably get drawn in, too!

2013-02-07 22:46:23 UTC

This is a "go to" destination for the young and curious. My children are grown and I'll soon have grandchildren to take to The Works. The beauty this organization is that it fully supports, sustains and leverages the investments Minnesota makes in education at all levels for STEM curriculum. This organization gives a head start to young minds that are going to lead us into the future in manufacturing, medicine, digital technology, nano technology and --- well you get the picture. They are especially welcoming to girls who will be full partners in all future innovations.

2013-02-07 23:25:03 UTC

The Works is providing a much needed service for developing the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers. Whether you are 5 or 65 years old, the hands-on exploration and challenges are fun for everyone. The Works has grown tremendously in the past 5 years and really deserves a website can share with the world what an amazing, beneficial, and exciting organization that they are!

2013-02-07 23:36:47 UTC
Brent Marmo

The Works exists for our future. To nurture creative minds which many of our educational institutions have stifled. Every child and adult should experience The Works because it creates a safe, nurturing environment which allows the mind to flourish and express itself three-dimensionally. We are so fortunate this gem is in the Twin Cities.

2013-02-08 00:28:54 UTC
Another Nerd

The Works is fun. I have as much fun there as my kids. Even better, kids are learning while they play...but don't tell them that. The staff there is amazing...they really get the kids to love can tell they all love it, too. I tell everyone I know about this gem. C'mon Nerdery, you gotta pick them!!

2013-02-08 02:33:30 UTC
Rolf Nordstrom

Almost all of humanity's most pressing challenges will require engineers to help solve them--from a sustainable energy system to materials flows. I can't think of anything more important than The Works mission of inspiring young kids to see engineering as both fun and heroic!

2013-02-08 01:00:01 UTC
Carole Goehring

We fell in love with The Works Museum the first time we visited it. What a stimulating, mind-growing place for kids! Watching the mentoring type interaction between different age kids (and those of us in older generations!) is wonderful. Science and technology are fascinating and fun at The Works. We were so impressed we immediately bought a family membership. The USA needs more science/technology museums like this to help children experience the fact that science and technology are interesting, fascinating and FUN!

2013-02-08 02:18:35 UTC

The Twin Cities is so lucky to have The Works! I did not know about it until a few months ago. After one visit my five-year-old was in love with the place! He's a smart little boy who loves to learn and try new things and The Works is paradise to him. And... It's affordable! A great place for all families. Please help them get discovered by even more families.

2013-02-08 03:42:20 UTC

After his first visit to The Works, my 3 year old spent the summer making dams of various types, sizes and strengths in our driveway gutters. He would use whatever materials he could easily find in the yard; typically rock, leaves, mud and sticks which were carefully placed together in various designs ready to hold back the water. We'd anxiously watch the weather forecasts (introducing him to weather science) hoping for rain to test his various creations. And sure enough, after (or sometimes during) each rainstorm, he would be outside analysing his designs and working to improve them for next time. I will be forever grateful to The Works for capturing his creativity and imagination in such a wonderful manner. Thanks Works!

2013-02-08 04:56:36 UTC

I am an engineer by training and stay-at-home mom by choice. My two daughters, age 5 and 6, love The Works! The exhibits and design lab "take-home" projects are engaging and designed to appeal to a wide range of ages, including us adults! The focus on hands-on learning is great. We look forward to The Work's special events throughout the year,like Tech Fest and 3M Wizards. No other science venue in the Twin Cities compares to The Works and the value for the cost of membership is exceptional. I tell everyone about The Works!

2013-02-08 05:17:40 UTC
Jodi Hogan

All three of my kids (7 and 6 year old sons and 2 year old daughter) LOVE The Works!!! Let's be honest, my hubby and I love it too!! We recently bought a membership and I could not think of a better use of our family entertainment budget money!! Different areas of the museum speak to each one of my children and it is so fun to see them investigate their areas of interest! Thank you to everyone that keeps The Works running so immpeccably!

2013-02-08 14:18:35 UTC

These kids are your future employees! Creative exploration, problem solving and a little bit of nerdry and fun come together at The Works. Invest in the your future with The Works!

2013-02-08 18:05:32 UTC

The Works have got to win the Nerdery's Overnight Website Challenge! It's such a great place.
When I visited my children and grandsons in Mpls, we went to The Works...and spent so much
time building and racing toy cars, we hardly had time to do much more before closing time.
It's not only for 5 to 12 year olds - but also for adults with inquiring minds.
What a wonderful learning experience. I can't wait to go back with my grandsons.

2013-02-08 21:39:33 UTC

Every time I come to The Works, I see smiling children excited to figure out how things work and how to make them their own. I also see them begging their parents and teachers to let them stay longer. It is a phenomenal hands-on experience and one that could do with a revamped website to attract even more people to come in and see for themselves!

2013-02-09 01:07:20 UTC
Michael L.

We went to The Works with my 9 and 12 year old nephews. I actually wasn't that excited but i figured they would have fun. Have to tell you the place is really incredible and fun. First we built cars and raced them down a ramp. I made a fancy one that crumbled on the way down. My nine year old nephew made a simple one that won every time. I learned a lot. Then we played with weight and tried to beat out time, learning about structural engineering, gravity and design all in one. Then we played with incredible metal blocks that make a dam. It was so fun to see what arrangement of blocks would hold the weight and pressure of all that water. I could go on and on. You guys have really done a wonderful job creating exhibits that kids and adults can learn so much from. We will definitely come back and play --- ooops learn --- some more. Thank You.

2013-02-09 13:48:18 UTC
Laura McDonell

Please help The Works create a new website - What an amazing organization!

2013-02-09 16:22:44 UTC
MIchelle Martin

The Works is a great place to go again and again. As a teacher and parent, I love that my kids have favorite activities that they return to, each time deepening their understanding. A stronger web presence would help others experience this little gem of a science museum.

2013-02-10 12:36:29 UTC
Ron Bennett

The Works is a unique and exciting place for kids to get fired up about engineering. It's hands-on, minds-on approach stimulates learning for kids, and their broad range of programs engages schools, parents and grandparents in the excitement. Having the opportunity to work with The Nerdery to enhance their website would be a great benefit in disseminating the word about The Works.

Ron Bennett
Founding Dean and Professor Emeritus
School of Engineering
University of St. Thomas

2013-02-11 21:06:50 UTC
Jill H.

My family loves The Works! In addition to all their awesome exhibits and activities, they offer super fun birthday parties too. My 6-year-old son has been visiting The Works for 2 years and never tires of it. The summer camp offerings are out of this world!

2013-02-11 21:42:25 UTC

My kids love The Works and love to bring their friends too. They especially like to see what is new in the Design Lab. The activities really inspire them to explore further in science and engineering.

2013-02-11 22:38:47 UTC

The works is the best place in the Twin Cities to go for kids and those that are kids at heart, to learn in an interactive way. There is no better way to learn that will stick with you better than doing it for yourself. This is the works montra!!! The teachers are awesome, the staff can answer any question. I make sure my kids see every new event they have (ages 9 &11). They can't get enough of that place!!!!

2013-02-14 15:55:10 UTC

I wish The Works had been around when I was a kid!

2013-02-14 22:53:59 UTC

I just started as a marketing intern at The Works. Of course, the place is awesome, and the best thing about interning is all the great experience you can gain. Unfortunately, when it comes to working on websites, learning how to use an outdated CMS isn't very useful in the real world. I'd love to see the website become a more effective marketing tool and experience what it's like to work on a modern CMS. The museum is such a fun & smart place, it'd be fantastic if they had an equally smart website!

2013-02-14 23:25:27 UTC

My six year old son LOVES the works, and although he is remarkably adept at using the web as a tool to find and share information, he finds the Works' website challenging. I have to say I don't blame him. The Works needs a new website.

Our Mission

Our mission is to inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers and creative problem solvers. Make stuff. Break stuff. Make it better. Kids are naturally curious and believe that anything is possible. At The Works, kids explore how things work and are inspired to create and invent. At The Works, kids use persistence to try and try again until their creation meets their vision. Kids are our future. We need a future generation that can solve problems, collaborate effectively and think creatively. Whether a child's future is to design innovative architecture, develop the next breakthrough in technology, or craft solutions to worldwide challenges, at The Works, kids develop 21st Century skills that lay the foundation for success in whatever they choose to do in life.