Animals are a part of our daily lives. Whether you wake up to see your dog holding his leash in his mouth, hear birds chirping outside your window, or have a squirrel steal a bite of your food when you’re not looking, you share your space with animals. But do animals think, or are they governed only by instinct?
Creating Wild Minds has been a large undertaking, involving many people and institutions. The project’s development team includes Diana Reiss from Hunter College’s Department of Psychology, who is best known for her work on mirror self-recognition among dolphins and elephants; and John Fraser, a conservation psychologist and educator currently serving as Director of the Institute for Learning Innovation’s New York office. Partner institutions include the Staten Island Zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Oregon Zoo, the California Science Center, Santa Barbara Zoo, Science Central, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, COSI (Center of Science and Industry), and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Programming planned for Wild Minds will include NYSCI-style hands-on, do-it-yourself activities that you can try with animals in and around your home. What do you think your pet will think of that?
Queens kids got up close and personal with some mythical creatures at Dragon Boat Family Day at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) on Saturday, July 16.
“Children are the future of the competition, so it is important to involve them with the Dragon Boats while they are young,” said Henry Wan, chairman for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (HKDBF), which will be held on Meadow Lake on August 13 and 14. “We are a family event and we look forward to seeing all of these kids at the festival.”
An actual Dragon Boat held center stage in NYSCI’s Great Hall and children marveled at the 40-foot long teak boat. Expert rowers and amateur athletes were also in attendance, passing their knowledge onto the next generation of racers.
Studying E-Books at the New York Hall of Science by Zachary Levine | Jul 18, 2011, published in The Cooney Center Blog.
Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of assisting members of the Cooney Center staff in a two-day research study at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Queens, NY. The study, conducted in corroboration with NYSCI, focused on the interaction between children (ages 3-5) and their caregivers when reading two different science books: one regular book and one on the iPad. Would the iPad serve as a distraction to children or would it actually promote as much parent-child conversation and interaction as the print book?
In order to answer these important questions, the children and their caregivers were asked a series of questions after each book was finished as well as at the end of the session. In theory, the research study seemed like a fantastic idea but you can never be certain until you try it out in the field. So, off we went to Queens. When we arrived at NYSCI for the study, Dr. David Kanter, who is founding director of SciPlay, warmly welcomed us. (SciPlay, formally known as The Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning, was launched in 2010 as a design and research center fpr teaching children about science through play.) He then brought us to the Preschool Place, where we would be conducting our study. I was assigned the job of recruiting and signing up families for the study—a worthy job for a first time researcher! As families starting pouring into the museum I thought that recruiting would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong!
The main problem seemed to be that both the parents and their children didn’t want to sit down and read two books. They either didn’t have enough time or the kids refused. After all, a science museum with cool gadgets and a mini golf course is kind of hard to compete with! Nevertheless, once I got people to sign up for the study, everything went pretty smoothly thanks to the Cooney Center’s great research staff. Of course, a few families walked out in the middle of the study because their child couldn’t sit still, but overall, most families were very cooperative. In addition, I found that this type of research really excited a lot of families and many even asked us to put them on our mailing list so that they could see the study when it was finished. In the coming weeks we will be reviewing the results of the study and I think they will be quite fascinating. We hope to share them soon! I want to give a special thanks to Dr. David Kanter, Alice Stevenson, and the staff at the New York Hall of Science for their help at the museum. It was truly the perfect setup.
When you think of a coach, images of push-ups and laps around the track may come to mind. At NYSCI, our coach doesn’t carry a whistle or make you do jumping jacks, but she will help you think differently about science.
Jasmine Maldonado has been a Science Coach Specialist at NYSCI since 2007. She provides teachers with different approaches for their science lessons.
“The NYSCI approach is more hands-on and inquiry-based as opposed to just teaching out of a textbook,” says Jasmine. “We encourage teachers to ask their students questions that require explanations, not just yes or no answers.”
As a Science Coach Specialist, Jasmine is an integral contributor to The Partnership for Inner-City Education, which works to improve science education at Catholic schools in New York City. Jasmine visits schools new to the program on a weekly basis and checks on existing schools on a biweekly basis.
Since it’s start in 2007, the program has worked with approximately 100 teachers and 3,000 students. Participating schools have seen increased use of the school’s science labs, an increase in hands-on and inquiry-based science teaching across the grades, increased student participation in regional science and technology competitions, and improved state science exam scores.
Interest in the program is high. Two more schools were just added to the program during the 2010 – 2011 school year, with more expected next year. Due to demand, NYSCI is hoping to expand by bringing on another Science Coach Specialist.
In a study looking at the efficacy of the coaching model, The Partnership for Inner-City Education stated:
"NYSCI’s work with our schools has transformed the way science is being taught. Students are so engaged during and inspired by their science classes that they are dreaming about pursuing careers in science. The teachers are highly motivated by the children’s enthusiasm and want to continue to expand their knowledge in this subject."
Learn about dragon boats, test your strength and race on rowing machines, experience traditional Chinese dances including a Lion Dance, watch kung fu masters perform Chinese martial arts, and decorate a lion mask to take home.
A 40-foot-long dragon boat will be on display. This dragon boat will be participating in the boat races of the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Dragon Boat competitors from all over the North East coast will be manning these ”ergometer” machines that have been modified to have paddles, and are hooked up to large display screens so visitors can race against each other.
Charlie & Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure at a bookstore near you
NYSCI’s famous Charlie and Kiwi touring exhibit, curated and researched by our very own Science Interpretation Consultant, Martin Weiss, is now a best selling book presented and illustrated by award winning Peter H. Reynolds, and available on Amazon and at the NYSCI store. Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure opened at NYSCI in May 2009, and then began touring the United States in August 2009. Since then, it has received rave reviews, tackling the subject of evolution in a manner that appeals to kids of all ages.
The answer, Charlie learns is simply evolutionary.
Presented by Peter Reynolds and FableVision and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this is an easy to understand scientific adventure. Charlie and Kiwi (with help from great, great, great, great, great Grandpa Charles Darwin) take you on a journey through time and through a huge scientific principle. The story of evolution—and that strange little Kiwi bird—reminds us that sometimes what seems like a raw deal (a bird that can’t fly) turns out to be just perfect!
The New York Hall of Science is New York’s hands-on science and technology center. They promote science and technology as important tools that help us understand ourselves and the world we live in.
FableVision is an award-winning children’s media developer and book packager founded by Peter and Paul Reynolds.
Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of The Dot and Ish and illustrator for the New York Times #1 bestseller Someday by Alison McGhee. He is also the illustrator of Little Boy, Charlie and Kiwi and the Judy Moody series. He lives in Dedham, Mass. where he is co-owner of the Blue Bunny bookstore. Visit Peter online at peterhreynolds.com.
This week at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference in Philadelphia, a team of NYSCI Explainers and Interns presented the Virtual Hall of Science (VHOS) at the student showcase. VHOS is a virtual science center curated by NYSCI’s Instructors, Explainers and collaborating middle school students from our neighboring schools.
Explainers Valeria Aucapina and Charisse Sanchez and Interns Lauren Shum and Alexious Ross presented their VHOS exhibits to educators and technology professionals whose companies make and sell technology for educational purposes.
Teachers from the United States, Mexico, China and Japan expressed interest in learning more about VHOS and are eager to connect with NYSCI in this new medium. We are already planning our presentation for next year’s ISTE conference in San Diego.
Congratulations to Valeria, Charisse, Lauren and Alexious. Their great work is already being recognized. Lauren’s VHOS exhibit on renewable energy, earned her an invitation to mentor high school students in a technology program at Rutgers University. And the entire team was invited to attend the Science Online conference in North Carolina this coming January.
A research center connected with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with NYSCI to study differences in learning between e-books and traditional print books.
Researchers from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop arrived at NYSCI yesterday to conduct the first day of their research with young visitors in Preschool Place. Studies will also be conducted on Friday and Saturday.
The research focuses on science books for children ages 3-5 and uses both traditional print and iPad platforms. The NYSCI-based studies comprise the first piece of a three-part R&D project driven by the following questions:
How does the co-reading experience differ on print and electronic platforms?
What implications do these differences have for science learning?
How can e-books be designed to maximize parent-child interactions?
The research at NYSCI examines the design of print and electronic science books. Design elements that are found to support parent-child interactions and child comprehension will be used in prototypes for the second phase of the study. The third and phase consists of the creation of an e-book maximizing parent-child engagement.
The collaboration between NYSCI and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center is undertaken by NYSCI’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning (SciPlay). SciPlay was launched last September to build a national center of expertise in play-based learning. SciPlay researchers investigate how people of all ages can learn science, technology, engineering and math through play.
Collaborations with researchers such as those at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center play an important part of how SciPlay studies how to transform play into lifelong science learning.
More than 30 parent-child pairs will be recruited to participate in the first phase of this project. Cookies will not be provided.
This summer NYSCI unveils NYSCI Neighbors, a new membership category available to residents of our 11368 zip code. NYSCI Neighbors combats summer learning loss by providing families with unlimited access to NYSCI, along with a suite of resources including a guided orientation to NYSCI’s exhibits and programs, a reading list for the Science Technology Library, and a Field Journal to guide and document summer learning experiences at NYSCI.
In partnership with local schools, parent-teacher associations, and parent coordinators, NYSCI Neighbors deepens our connection with local families, excites parents and children about out-of-school learning, and positively influences how science—and NYSCI—are perceived in our community.
Josett Pacheco, Parent Coordinator at PS 19 in Corona says,
"Our parent community is very excited about the opportunity to participate in this program for the upcoming summer. Due to many budget cuts in our schools and community programs, something like this could not have come at a better time."
The multilingual orientation sessions and printed resources will address language and access barriers, and the field journals give students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning and encourage them to think of NYSCI as a fun destination within their community.
For decades, parents and educators have recognized the challenge of “summer learning loss”, a phenomenon where students lose from one to three months of learning progress during summer months. NYSCI Neighbors will keep students and their families engaged with fun and learning during school vacation months and also introduce NYSCI to new audiences, who will hopefully become year-round visitors. At the end of the summer, participants will be able to apply their NYSCI Neighbor status to an upgraded annual membership .
While focused on Corona in this inaugural year, NYSCI intends to expand the NYSCI Neighbors program beyond our immediate community next year.
“So much of learning is mediated through textbooks, and we know that in this day and age in the 21st century, we in fact need learning to happen in much richer, much more authentic kinds of settings,” says Margaret Honey, the president and chief executive officer of the New York Hall of Science.
NYSCI is proud to announce the launch of TeachersTryScience.org. A resource for teachers to collaborate on ideas and share their skills in science education. View the latest lessons plans posted by NYSCI and TeachEngineering and start uploading your teaching strategies by joining the TryScience community!
Teachers TryScience builds on the original TryScience.org, launched in 1999 as a portal for interactivity with more than 400 science and technology centers worldwide. TryScience.org offers activities, experiments and resources for field trips and classroom science learning.
With a little help from technology, people can see better, run faster, and do things more efficiently. NYSCI is currently working on an exhibition that will explore the user-focused engineering process that’s used to design products that enhance people’s abilities, from sneakers to eyeglasses, to wheelchairs and prosthetics. The exhibition, called Human+ (“Human Plus”), is a collaboration with the Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT) and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). The end user figures prominently in building assisted technology products, so engineers have to consider the user at every stage of design. It is this process of asking, imagining, creating and testing that the exhibition will investigate.
Human+ won’t open until 2013, but NYSCI staff are already hard at work identifying projects to test with visitors. Working with a group of advisors that includes academics, engineers, and people with disabilities, NYSCI staff are searching for stories and projects that will capture the attention of museum visitors. A “soft-touch” robotic arm, a wheelchair with a snowplow attached, and prosthetic legs designed for running are some of the projects under consideration.
The exhibition’s main messages will include:
Engineering is a creative process that can design technologies to meet human needs and improve people’s lives.
Everyone can design something that helps people use their abilities to achieve their goals.
Users should be central to the design process.
Whether it’s sneakers or eyeglasses, or wheelchairs or prosthetics, everyone uses technology to accomplish things.
Opening in fall 2013 at NYSCI, Human+ will include examples of assisted technology projects, narratives from people with disabilities about how they have modified or designed technology to help them reach their goals, and stations where visitors can design and build products of their own.
NYSCI educators will be testing three educational games this June and July. Produced by SciPlay, NYSCI’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning, the games will be prototyped with middle school students, and will eventually be adapted for use in NYSCI’s Science Playground.
The goal of the games is to have the students use experimentation to understand science concepts such as rotational and linear motion, force, velocity, friction, and kinetic and potential energy. In the Rotational Motion Game, kids explore circular motion by moving a small bowling ball in a circle using a mallet, while a camera and projector track and display the ball’s path. In the Cart Activity Game, students are challenged to create either constant velocity or acceleration by pushing a cart on a linear track. In the Slide Game, light sensors positioned at the top and bottom of a playground slide help calculate each student’s speed down the slide, allowing participants to investigate friction, and kinetic and potential energy.
The three games are part of research about playful learning that is at the core of SciPlay. SciPlay aims to create hands-on experiences that instill an understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The activities created as a result of prototyping sessions and other research at SciPlay will be adapted for use in classrooms and playgrounds throughout the country.
The Design Lab, a project of NYSCI’s Verizon Center for STEM Learning, was profiled in the May 12 edition of Education Daily, a national publication for education professionals and policymakers. Dorothy Bennett, NYSCI’s director of design-based learning in schools, described the Design Lab as “a place where teachers can think outside the box and take some risks” with a goal of getting students engaged with science “in a kinesthetic way.”
Twenty Design Lab Fellows are working now through the summer on developing a suite of educational resources that will be available to teachers beginning in the 2011 – 2012 school year. A second class of Fellows will begin work in the fall.
Learning to love the chaos resulted from a day of prototyping at NYSCI for Brett’s thesis project, SoundStage.
SoundStage is an ambisonic surround sound mixer. By moving objects around the table, users can pan audio around the room and immerse themselves within a soundscape of their own creation.
In collaboration with SciPlay, Brett introduced SoundStage to NYSCI visitors, giving kids and parents an opportunity to put his prototype through its paces.
The outcome? SoundStage has potential for immersive storytelling with older kids. But for preschoolers, what Brett ultimately discovered is that SoundStage creates an environment for a unique sonic experience that leverages kids’ innate curiosity and tendency to play.
NYSCI’s Chris Lawrence checks in to recap last week’s My Carbon Footprint 3D Design Jam…
To mark Earth Day, NYSCI teamed up with the New Youth City Learning Network, The Mozilla Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors and the National Science Foundation for the first annual Earth Day My Carbon Footprint 3D Design Jam.
Seventy-five tweens, teens, adults, NYSCI Instructors, and Explainers got together to experiment, play, design and yes hack the Virtual Hall of Science, various websites, digital photographs and even good ‘ole markers on paper.
Like a music jam, Design Jam participants worked on many different kinds of projects and then riffed off of each other to produce a collaborative online 3D exhibition space.
"I have long admired NYSCI’s imaginative approach to science teaching, so I am delighted to be working with them on this project," said Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division and a member of Deutsche Bank’s Group Executive Committee. “I have complete confidence that they will develop a curriculum that will effectively engage and educate New York children about climate change. Action to fight global warming begins with public awareness, and awareness starts with education. Teaching the next generation about this issue is ultimately, therefore, the surest way of conquering such a vast and complex problem. We cannot start too soon.”
My Carbon Footprint takes a student-centric approach to climate change education
Today, NYSCI unveiled a new project to boost climate change education in New York City schools.
The two-year project, funded with a grant from Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, is called My Carbon Footprint. It will result in a new set of educator resources as well as a series of student-produced exhibits for the online Virtual Hall of Science, where NYSCI is exploring the educational potential of virtual environments.
Students will gain experience designing for both digital and real environments, collaborating through social networks, and practicing basic 3D modeling, while helping to develop a climate change curriculum that will roll-out in NYC classrooms in Fall 2011.
My Carbon Footprint is presented by Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors: Know The Number
The Science Playground, designed by BKSK Architects at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, is less fairy tale than futurama. Resembling a colorful Rube Goldberg contraption, with waterworks, the 60,000-square-foot space lets children study the laws of physics while happily submitting to them.
“Kids love to get dizzy,” said Sookram Ramsaroop, the hall’s supervisor of visitor interactions. Thus the standing spinner, a disc topped by a vertical bar with a hand grip. “I may say, ‘Lean back, and see what happens,’ ” he said. “Or, ‘Lean in.’ ” The resulting difference in speeds illustrates conservation of angular momentum, which children can learn about from an on-site explainer. (Or not: no one forces lessons.)
This article is of particular interest to me since, as some of you may know, I’ve been involved in informal science education for several years and will be starting a museum studies graduate program this Fall with an emphasis on science museums. (In fact, the beginning of this blog is actually primarily about my trip to Europe where I interned at several science centers.) And, between you and me, I actually have a bit of a pipe-dream of opening my own someday.
So, naturally, I was quite interested in this article (additionally since I’m also a fan of its author) - but so should everyone. This study has strong implications for museums, science, and education in general. I could go on, but instead, here are the RCS Highlights:
One of the first studies of its type has confirmed that a science museum can strongly influence the public’s knowledge and attitudes about science and technology - and to a surprising degree can cut across racial, ethnic, educational and economic barriers.
The study.. offers profound support for the value of such institutions. It also reinforces the emerging concept of “free choice” learning, which holds that people get most of their knowledge about science from someplace other than school or formal education…
“The holy grail of science museums is not to provide someone all the knowledge they need, but to inspire them, to become a launching point,” said John Falk, an OSU professor of science education and national leader in the free-choice learning movement. “Many people have believed that such institutions could do this, but this study provides some of the first definitive evidence that it works.”..
* More than half of the residents in Los Angeles County, over one million a year, have visited the Science Center since it opened in 1998, and say it strongly improved their understanding of science issues.
* Residents who visited the Science Center were among the most knowledgeable Los Angeles residents about science and technology, and their visit significantly contributed to this.
* The makeup of visitors was broadly representative of the general population, including all races, ethnicities, ages, education and income levels…
* Nearly all adults who said their children had visited the Science Center reported an increase in their children’s knowledge of science and technology, and large majorities said the visit raised their long-term interest level…
As a NYSCI explainer "alumni" pursuing a career in informal science education, I'm pretty psyched to find this blog and thought you might be interested in a recent post of mine: http://realcleverscience.tumblr.com/post/4606155011/surveys-confirm-enormous-value-of-science-museums
Ari @ RCS
Hey! Thanks Ari, I’m psyched you found our blog. I just started yesterday so it still needs work … good to know we have alumni out there keeping an eye out for us. Keep in touch!
The New York Hall of Science, in conjunction with Northern.Lights.mn, presents ReGeneration, a summer-long exhibition debuting in 2012 with related programming in and around NYSCI. In total, ReGeneration will engage 14 artists or artist groups in creating and presenting work that explores the connection of cultural vitality to immigration, urbanization, and sustainability through the intersection of art, technology and science. More information about ReGeneration can be found here.
April 16 – 24, 1 & 2 pm; plus additional performances on April 22 at 3 pm and April 24 at noon. This weekend its time to get creative with bubbles, learn about the science behind them, and be WOWED by comedian/bubble-ologist Casey Carle. The Science Library is also hosting bubble poetry workshops on Sat. at 3pm & 4PM. Tickets are available at the door & are limited!
TAB is starting to plan for the 2011 NYC Maker Faire! Lots of cool things planned aroung this year’s MF - our first Meetup, the 2011 edition of the official Team TAB Maker Faire NYC skateboard, and more. See you in Queens!