What steps has your institution taken to maximize its relevance to its community?

June 20th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, Viewpoints by Emily Schuster

Zero waste lunch demo at ChabotThis is an extended discussion of the question that appeared in the Viewpoints department of the July/August 2011 issue of Dimensions magazine. 

 Chabot Space & Science Center has proudly become the local source for environmental science education. Our newest exhibition, Bill Nye’s Climate Lab, increases climate literacy through engaging, solutions-based activities. Chabot’s 50,000+ school field trip visitors receive a captivating demonstration on how to create a “zero waste lunch” (pictured), helping us integrate our aggressive recycling and composting program. Even our Full Circle Café utilizes locally sourced products, which our discerning community demands.

Robert Ade, communications and media coordinator
Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, California

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Q&A with Michael Specter

June 20th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Michael SpecterInterviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The science writer and ASTC 2011 speaker on denialism, vaccine phobia, and why organic food won’t save the world

In the face of today’s massive organic movement, Michael Specter lauds synthetic drugs and genetically modified foods. Specter, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the 2009 book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, does not factor political correctness into his crusade to conquer fear with facts.

Here’s a taste of what he’ll discuss as a featured speaker at the 2011 ASTC Annual Conference in Baltimore, hosted by the Maryland Science Center, October 15–18.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

A Class Act: Science Centers and Teachers

June 10th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions by Katie McCarthy

IN THIS ISSUE
May/June 2011

Many science centers are deeply involved in providing professional development and support to teachers; in fact, 84 percent of ASTC’s science center and museum members offer teacher workshops or institutes. With their emphasis on active, inquiry-based learning and real-life experiences, science centers can help teachers deepen their own understandings of science and discover creative, flexible strategies for engaging their students in science learning. In this issue, we explore some exemplary teacher professional development and support programs, and offer frameworks and best practices for engaging teachers.

Contents

• Informal Science Institutions and Teachers: Partners in Education, by the CAISE Formal-Informal Partnerships Inquiry Group
• Practical Learning Opportunities for Primary Science Teachers, by Celeste Chariandy
Museum Schools: Up to the Standards, by Joelle Seligson
• Changing the Culture of Science Teaching, by Nicole Kowrach
• A Framework to Help Teachers Maximize Field Trip Learning, by Jennifer DeWitt
• Small Center, Big Ambition: System-wide Professional Development, by William Katzman
• Shedd Navigators: A Model for Professional Development, by Joy Kubarek-Sandor and Lorrie Beaumont
• The OSR Portal: Shared Resources for Formal and Informal Education, by Kati Tyystjärvi
• Listening to Teachers’ Needs, by Cristina Trecha
• The Role of Science Centers in Professional Development, by Francis Q. Eberle

Download the full issue.

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Museum Schools: Up to the Standards

June 10th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions by Katie McCarthy

By Joelle Seligson
From ASTC Dimensions
May/June 2011

A few days before the 2011 Super Bowl became the most watched television program in U.S. history, President Barack Obama delivered his own live broadcast. His State of the Union address touched on the big game, but in relation to a very different goal. “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair,” he stated.

Among the objectives outlined that evening is to train 100,000 teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. But in U.S. public schools, teachers’ priorities (and curricula) are largely driven by the need for students to score well on standardized, math- and literacy-oriented tests, in order to avoid government-mandated consequences. In an age when both national and individual success increasingly depend on STEM skills that go far beyond basic math, how can teachers prepare themselves to prepare students for the future?
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Communities of Knowledge and Practice

May 26th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

As an association, ASTC places a high priority on providing quality professional development services to its members—from online training programs and publications, to networking and consulting, to an annual conference that serves to inform, educate, and inspire. The ASTC leadership and field development committee has been busy assisting the association to establish and implement a comprehensive plan of professional skills enhancement for our diverse membership.
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