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Learner-centered interactions, whether in formal or informal settings, are by their nature unscripted and require both the educator and learner to improvise. In fact, improvisation skills have been recognized as beneficial and applied in a variety of professional development training programs (including science communication, organizational development in university administration, teambuilding and leadership in business, and communication skills in medical education); yet, their inclusion in educator training has been limited. MOXI and UCSB partnered with a professional actor and theater instructor (third author of this paper) to implement applied improvisation training to support informal educators' skills development. After four years ofmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
Engineering Explorations: Connecting K-12 classroom learning and field trip experiences through engineering designInteractive science centers are in a unique position to provide opportunities for engineering education through K-12 field trip programs. However, field trip programs are often disconnected from students’ classroom learning, and many K-12 teachers lack the engineering education background to make that connection. Engineering Explorations is a 3-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) program Research in the Formation of Engineers (RFE) (EEC-1824856 and EEC-1824859). The primary goal of this project is to develop and test engineering education modules that link K-12 students’ classroom learning to field trip experiences in an interactive science museum, increasing student learning andmore »
Partnering to Develop a Coordinated Engineering Education Program Across Schools, Museum Field Trips, and Afterschool ProgramsEngineering Explorations are curriculum modules that engage children across contexts in learning about science and engineering. We used them to leverage multiple education sectors (K–12 schools, museums, higher education, and afterschool programs) across a community to provide engineering learning experiences for youth, while increasing local teachers’ capacity to deliver high-quality engineering learning opportunities that align with school standards. Focusing on multiple partners that serve youth in the same community provides opportunities for long-term collaborations and programs developed in response to local needs. In a significant shift from earlier sets of standards, the Next Generation Science Standards include engineering design, withmore »