Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dino Quest (outdoors)

I was also pleased with the outdoor, life-sized dinosaur (Argentinosaurus), which students or families can enjoy if they pay to participate in the “electronic interactive quest”. The museum is great, but before visiting, patrons should consider that this area and the shows do require additional money.

In the photo above, a child uses an electronic "wand" & a page of written activities/instructions to interact with outdoor displays.

“Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home”, is an area that teaches children about the human impact on our environment. For example, students and parents can manually generate electricity for small appliances, such as fans or light bulbs, by quickly turning a gear connected to a small generator.

(In the photo below) Outside a small display of a home, alternative insulation ideas are built into the siding. (Recycled denim in the left box; recycled newspaper on the right box.)

I truly appreciated and valued the environmentally friendly ideas & information (such as recycling & conservation) that were integrated into interactive displays. (See posting about water consumption, below.)

Robots: Mars exploration Rovers-Spirit & Opportunity

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The science center is an engaging environment for teachers and students. There are themed areas, such as a physical science area involving our “Dynamic Earth”: our clouds, tornados, hurricanes, streams & waves. In every part of the science center, each display is presented with a short explanation or instructions. Some of this information is only accessible for upper grade level elementary students, who are proficient readers. Teachers can guide students’ exploration at each exhibit, as well as prompt them to answer each of the questions contained in the museum’s grade level pamphlet.

Debriefing students

To debrief students after we visit the science center, we will review one or two of the key concepts before we leave each themed exhibit (before moving onto the next area of the museum). Upon returning to school, we will also try to review a key concept from each of the areas of the museum, or have individual/teams of students share what they learned, or saw, where, and explain the concept behind the particular display or exhibit (during a class discussion & using individual learning logs).


To prepare for this fieldtrip, I would need to have taught or reviewed at least one or more lessons that introduce and teach my students about the key concepts they will encounter. For beginning to intermediate English learners, I might also need bilingual translators, assigned partner work, or study guides. Translators could be peers or volunteers, in order to allow full access or usability of the museum. Students with special needs might need extra assistance throughout the fieldtrip. For example, an aide, wheelchair accessibility, or communicative adaptations might be required.

The Discovery Science Center

My students can gain memorable and exciting experiences from visiting this fieldtrip site. They benefit from using various modalities to experiment with interactive displays and exhibits, located in different areas of the museum. They also benefit from exploring and reading about all the applications of science or displays of science at work. All the while, they can use visual or tactile/kinesthetic learning experiences to build background knowledge.