Museum of Science NSTA Offerings Highlight Engineering
April 19, 2014
In early April, 10,000 science educators from across the country converged on Boston for the 2014 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) national conference, looking for new ways to educate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They face a critical challenge, especially now that they must grapple with the Common Core State Standards and engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
The Museum of Science, Boston played a vital role at the conference, addressing the NGSS and all four conference strands (engineering and science, science and literacy, elementary science, and leadership) in 14 workshops, panels and sessions. Many highlighted engineering as the key that brings science and math alive.
For example, Museum of Science vice president Christine Cunningham discussed "Science and Engineering Partnerships" and Museum vice president Yvonne Spicer focused on "Engineering & Science," their synergy and impact on K-12 student understanding, college and career readiness, and workforce development.
The Museum also featured hands-on Engineering is Elementary® activities, presentations on NGSS practices for elementary students, integrating science and engineering learning, using research-based engineering activities to spark learners, literacy contexts for STEM, early childhood STEM, and the Museum's K-12 and out-of-school time engineering curricula.
Focusing on the importance of introducing engineering skills that engage students in using math and science to solve problems, the Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) fosters STEM learning in children as early as age five in schools and museums nationwide.
According to NCTL director of dissemination Cindy Sweeter, on Friday evening the Museum introduced 1,200 teachers to its science and engineering exhibits and programs. They include the new Hall of Human Life exhibition drawing from the latest discoveries in the life sciences; Design Challenges that involve designing, building, and testing solutions to engineering problems; the Discovery Center's hands-on activities for children from birth to age 8 and their adults; the Journey to the South Pacific and The Human Body giant-screen films, the Explore: The Universe and Moons: Worlds of Mystery planetarium shows, and observatory stargazing.