By Cristin Dorgelo
Science and technology centers and museums engage in education and engagement with myriad individuals and groups in many different ways. It is essential that we pause and examine some of the relationships that help us make the greatest impact in this education and engagement work. This issue will explore the different ways in which partnering with formal education can yield significant and wide-ranging gains.
Many ASTC members provide some kind of teacher professional development, and many museums lead curriculum development efforts as well. Teacher development and support programs have been a core part of offerings from science and technology centers and museums since the inception of the field. While there are many exemplary programs to point to, you shared with me during ASTC’s recent listening process that partnering with formal education in a way that integrates hands-on, project-based, or informal science learning with curriculum and today’s standards can be challenging as you look to forge close partnerships, relationships, and agreements with school districts and state education systems.
In this issue, you’ll read about the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s strategy to boost attendance at teacher professional development sessions; the Department of Education’s current and upcoming partnerships with science centers and other government agencies; a major corporation’s tips and tricks for enhancing science teaching at public schools; a National Science Teaching Association editor’s experience using museum collections to train teachers in the scientific method; the Ontario Science Centre’s partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education to offer a full-day science program team-taught with classroom teachers; and the New York Hall of Science’s project to create comic books that support the middle school science curriculum.
Making fruitful connections between in-school and out-of-school learning environments can require trust, understanding, and flexibility. As each of the articles in this issue shows, the dedication to a common goal is often the key to a successful partnership between science museums and schools.
Cristin Dorgelo is ASTC’s President and CEO.