The Sciencenter's Quarterly Education Newsletter
Collaboration at the Sciencenter
Working with Our Community
At the Sciencenter, one way that we share current research about how young children learn is through our collaboration with researchers from Cornell University. On weekends, from noon to 4, researchers from the Early Childhood Cognition Lab and the Cornell Infant Studies Lab can be found working in our Curiosity Corner. On these days, they encourage children and families to participate in hands-on activities that will aide them in their research. In addition, they share research methods and findings with Sciencenter guests. For example did you know that exploring using blocks and directional language like
on top, and
under can help children develop their spatial skills which are linked to later success in math?
The collaboration between Cornell researchers and the Sciencenter not only enhances our guests' experiences but also provides Sciencenter educators with new tools and techniques for use in programs and outreach.
Explore what collaboration looks like at these Sciencenter exhibits:
- The Big Blue Blocks
- The Whisper Dish on the Science Playground
- Colored Shadows
While at the Sciencenter:
- Can you discover a way to move something without touching it?
- Can you find an activity that only works with two or more people?
Science for All Ages
How children learn about the world around them
Early Explorers (ages 0 - 5)
Did you know that children begin processing the actions of the people around them as soon as they are born? In fact, there is no other time in life when the brain develops more rapidly than during the first 5 years.
Young children learn a lot on their own, but when it comes to significant developmental stages, collaboration with the adults in their lives helps to build stronger foundations of understanding the world around them. Starting at birth, children observe their world to learn faces and language, and to advance their overall cognition through relationships with the important people around them. Explore ways in which you can collaborate with your toddlers with Alison Gopnik and her TED Talk,
"What do babies think?"
Try this at home!
supports collaborative interactions with your youngest children to promote learning. You can c
ustomize activities for the ages of the children you spend the most time with in your life and get daily ideas to promote brain building.
Young Scientists (ages 5 - 11)
The Buddy System
Each year at the Sciencenter, we offer every second-grade student in the Tompkins County public school system the opportunity to engage in a collaborative engineering challenge through the
Kids Discover the Trail!
program. The students work together to complete their challenge of creating a working wind turbine that will spin when they hold it in front of a fan. Over the course of this challenge, the students organically discover the value of diverse ideas, mutual respect, and perseverance in adversity. At Ithaca City School District
trips, students are paired with a buddy from a different school. One local parent said, "The buddy system, in particular, broadens their tiny elementary school experience to include other kids from all over the community -- suddenly they become common citizens of a much larger world."
Check out the full article,
'Buddies' Are Brought Together by KDT!
Try this at home!
Put your engineering skills to the test while working with your friends to create the fastest, most efficient
. Which design crossed the finish line first? What about that design made it work the best?
Future Science Leaders (ages 11 - 14)
Make it Personal
Collaboration is a key piece to engaging and empowering middle school students -- especially girls -- in science. Activities or projects that are hands-on, open-ended, and personally relevant are particularly important. According to research, teenage learners are energized by the social aspect of science (i.e. working, testing theories, and learning together).
is a great resource for ways to engage middle school students in science. We use SciGirls Seven techniques to guide our middle school Future Science Leaders program.
Do you know a middle school student who is interested in science? Come and meet our Future Science Leaders on Saturday, May 6 to learn more about the program and how you can be a part of it. In the meantime,
take a look
at what the Future Science Leaders have been working on.
Collaborative for Early Science Learning
The Collaborative for Early Science Learning (CESL) is a partnership between six museums across the country with the goal of developing a series of tools for the museum field that will fill a critical gap in Head Start teacher science training. Funded by a National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this Sciencenter-led collaborative brings museums together to work on professional development for Head Start teachers, to seek to learn what works best, and then to share these best practices throughout the museum field. The goal of the collaborative is to strengthen existing programs and provide the tools necessary for more museums to create the types of programs and partnerships that will improve early science learning for underserved audiences.
According to Karen Worth, Senior Research Scientist at Education Development Center, Inc., due to increased numbers of children living in poverty or with parents who must work multiple jobs, "experiences that provide direct manipulation of and experience with objects, materials, and phenomena -- such as playing in the sink, raising a pet, or going to the playground -- are becoming less likely to occur in the home."
Read the full study here.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Do you have a question for the Sciencenter?
Send it to us
and we will choose one question to answer in our next issue!