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  New York Hall of Science
Special program consultant Peter Warny gets up close and personal with visitors
Photo courtesy New York Hall of Science

Gathered here are articles, behind-the-scenes profiles, and links to other web sites that will help you find out more about these topics:

Science Centers as Learning Environments
Science Centers and Schools
Learning: Theory and Practice
Learning on the Museum Floor
Working with Teachers
Working with Students
Mathematics in Science Centers
Evolution in Science Centers
More Resources

Science Centers as Learning Environments

Science Centers as Learning Environments,
by Colin Johnson, 2005
The informal learning process mirrors everyday life more closely than the formal teaching/learning situation and is a process which human beings undertake not only very willingly, but with conspicuous success. The work of science centers mirrors this natural path. This essay by the former director of Techniquest presents some of the evidence.

Science Centers and Schools

The Constructivist MuseumISIs and Schools: A Landscape Study
Results from a National Survey of Informal Learning Institutions and Science Education, Exploratorium, 2005

The Field Trip Challenge: Finding Common Ground, by Dennis Schatz, ASTC Dimensions, September/October 2004

Museum-School Bridges: A Legacy of Progressive Education, by George E. Hein, ASTC Dimensions, January/February 2004

True Needs True Partners: Museums Serving Schools (188KB) | Need help?
Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2002
From the results of a three-year survey, IMLS has created a baseline profile of the status of museum education and formed a strong picture of the educational programming museums provide schools.

School Group Visits to Museums, by Elsa Bailey, 1999

Science Centers Should Embrace Standards, by Dennis Bartels, ASTC Newsletter, January/February 1999

Museums Must Do What Schools Will Not, by Craig Fox, ASTC Newsletter, January/February 1999

An Invisible Infrastructure: Institutions of Informal Science Education, an ASTC publication by Inverness Research Associates, 1996

Executive Summary

Volume 1: Findings from a National Survey of Institutions of Informal Science

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Learning: Theory and Practice

About Learning: A Field Guide for Museums, ASTC Newsletter, 1996
This series of articles by members of the ASTC Learning Research Task Force identifies research on learning relevant for museums and examines implications of the research for museum exhibits and programs. The work of the Task Force was supported by the Institute of Museum Services.

Introduction, by Elsa Feher

Learning Inside the Head, by Elsa Feher

Learning in Context, by Laura Martin

The Importance of Place, by Rob Semper

Playing and Learning, by Judy Diamond

The Role of Emotions, by Caryl Marsh

References and Readings

The Constructivist MuseumThe Constructivist Museum, by George Hein, Journal of Education in Museums, 1995

Learning in Interactive Environments: Prior Knowledge and New Experience, by Jeremy Roschelle, 1995

Critical Barriers to Science Learning, by David Hawkins

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Learning on the Museum Floor

Face to Face: Examining Educational Staff's Impact on Visitors, by Margie Marino and Judy Koke, ASTC Dimensions, January/February 2003

A Scientist for the Day: Exploration and Discovery in the Museum, by J. Shipley Newlin, ASTC Dimensions, September/October 2001

Working with Teachers

Helping Teachers Teach: A Learner-Centered Approach to Professional Development, by Lee Schmitt, ASTC Dimensions, November/December 2002

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Working with Students

Dana Foundation and Dana AllianceAfter School Evaluation Symposium Summary and audio files of presentations from September 2005 symposium organized by Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP)

After-School Hours: A Time for Children and Science Centers, by DeAnna Banks Beane, ASTC Dimensions, November/December 2000

The Worlds Children Create, by Sally Middlebrooks, ASTC, 2000
The author reports on her study of urban children’s building activities, what she learned about their thinking and imagining, and possible implications for museum researchers and educators.

Transforming Questions into Conversations: Responding with Interest to E-mail Inquiries, by Natalie Rusk, ASTC Newsletter, September/October 1998

Mathematics in Science Centers

Mathematics in Science Centers

Evolution in Science Centers

Readings and resources about science centers and the teaching of evolution.

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More Resources

Dana Foundation and Dana AllianceDana Foundation and Dana Alliance is a rich resource on current brain research. Available for download are podcasts as well as audio recordings and print transcripts of the Public Radio International series Gray Matters: Learning Throughout Life. The monthly Brain in the News is available on the site and (free) by subscription.

Harvard Family Research Project Evaluation ExchangeHarvard Family Research Project Evaluation Exchange
HFRP supports those who work directly with children, youth, and families. The Evaluation Exchange "highlights innovative methods and approaches to evaluation, emerging trends in evaluation practice, and practical applications of evaluation theory."

Infed: The Encyclopaedia of Informal EducationInfed: The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education
Devoted to informal education and lifelong learning, this site is supported by the UK National Grid for Learning.

Informal Science Knowledge DatabaseInformal Science Knowledge Database
Begun as a project of the Museum Learning Collaborative with support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, this database includes references, many annotated, to research on learning in informal settings, including museums.

Institute for Inquiry Resource Library, ExploratoriumInstitute for Inquiry Resource Library, Exploratorium
Readings and resources about inquiry-based learning, teacher education, and related subjects, developed as part of the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry, which provides workshops and other learning opportunities for teachers and other school personnel.

Museum Studies DatabaseMuseum Studies Database
The Smithsonian Institution created and maintains this database of citations, including articles from the Journal of Museum Education, ALI-ABA Course of Study, and theses and dissertations on museological topics, in English, at the master and doctoral levels. Go to Specialized Bibliographies and search for Museum Studies.

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