For the past few weeks, NYSCI Explainers have been learning how to design and pitch a mobile application that would support one of the exhibits on the museum floor. On Tuesday, the four groups presented their app ideas to the President of NYSCI, Margaret Honey, and senior exhibit staff, of which one group was to be selected to get their app professionally developed and placed on the market. Congratulations to the “BioHatchers” group who won the competition!
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?
A new exhibition exploring this question is currently being developed by a team of experts headed by NYSCI’s science interpretation consultant, Martin Weiss. Dr. Weiss helped create the NYSCI traveling exhibitions Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure and Molecules & Health … The Shape of Science. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the new animal cognition exhibition, titled Wild Minds – What Animals Really Think, will premiere at NYSCI and the Staten Island Zoo in October. It will then tour the country with stops planned in Oregon, California, Indiana and Ohio.
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?
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.