Dimensions, September/October 2004—Farther Afield: The Changing School Visit

Dimensions coverIN THIS ISSUE
September/October 2004

Field trips, excursions, school visits—call them what you will, on-site programs for teachers and students remain a key element of science center operations. But a recent change in education policy in the United States, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, has put these “bread-and-butter” programs in question. Under the terms of NCLB, the status of each school—and, by extension, its teachers—depends on how well its students score on annual standardized tests in reading and mathematics. In response, many school districts are funneling resources into basic instruction, dropping enrichment programs like art, music, and museum visits. A January report by the National Education Association reveals that field trips have been eliminated statewide in Kentucky and Michigan, while in other states officials have cut back on trips or imposed new fees. In this issue, we look at creative ways science centers are responding to this challenge, and consider some promising new practices.

The Field Trip Challenge: Finding Common Ground, by Dennis Schatz
• Connecting with Curriculum: A Hands-On Biotech Lab, by Michele Schilten
• Serving Teachers, Supporting Schools: A Collaborative Solution, by Ann Carter and Fawn Warner
• Science Oasis: Solving the Distance Problem, by Chad Johnson
• Online vs. On-Site: The ‘Burarra Gathering’ Experience, by Brenton Honeyman
• Chaperone-Led Field Trips: The Road Less Traveled?, by Kimberly M. Burtnyk
• Videoconferencing: Closing the Distance at COSI, by Gail Wheatley and Carolyn Sutterfield

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