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Dartmouth-Montshire Institute

Dartmouth College and the Montshire Museum of Science share a strong commitment to enhance the quality of science education in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Scientists and educational researchers at the college, working in many different disciplines, are continuously developing research programs of broad significance. The Montshire is nationally recognized for its expertise in science education for teachers, students in grades kindergarten through 12, and Upper Valley citizens, with a special emphasis on the challenges inherent in providing science education in rural communities.

The Dartmouth-Montshire Institute for Science Education recognizes the value of integrating the resources of these two leading institutions to better serve the educational needs of the bi-state region.

The Institute:

  • Provides a forum for discussions with local K-12 educators exploring how Institute programs might best serve their science education objectives;
  • Provides a forum for discussions among interested Dartmouth and Montshire faculty and staff exploring strategies for broad community science education outreach;
  • Coordinates the joint projects and initiatives of Dartmouth and the Montshire in a manner that ensures maximum cohesiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness;
  • Provides a coordinated approach for the two institutions to seek funding for collaborative efforts, which serve the regional audience and develop educational models of national significance.

Dartmouth-Montshire Institute Projects

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Connecting Classrooms and Community with the Health Sciences: An outreach program in rural New England schools (2009-2014)

In this five-year initiative, Montshire science educators and four Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) research teams will collaborate to create outreach programs for students in grades 5-8 located in rural Vermont and New Hampshire schools. Montshire educators will deliver programs reflecting topics of the DMS research teams.

Principal Investigator

  • Greg DeFrancis, P.I., Director of Education, Montshire Museum of Science

Scientific Advisors

  • Madeline Dalton
  • Meghan Longacre
  • James Sargent
  • Ardis Olsen
  • Ann-Christine Duhaime

Learn more about Connecting Classrooms and Community with the Health Sciences

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Developing a Community Collaboration Model for Teaching Research-based Nutrition Units in Middle Schools (2008-2009)

Childhood obesity represents one of the foremost public health concerns in the U.S. today. Few studies have been successful in modifying behaviors associated with risk for overweight, creating a need for innovative approaches toward engaging children and adolescents in risk prevention activities.

This project afforded Dartmouth Hood Center researchers the opportunity to translate findings from their observational studies of environmental risk factors for adolescent obesity to a community setting (i.e., middle schools) by utilizing the curriculum development expertise in science education provided by the Montshire Museum.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Meghan Longacre, Scientific Co-P.I., Hood Center for Children and Families, Dartmouth Medical School
  • Greg DeFrancis, Outreach Science Education Co-P.I., Montshire Museum of Science
  • Mike Fenzel, Curriculum Developer, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Developing a Community Collaboration Model for Teaching Research-based Nutrition Units in Middle Schools

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Looking Inside Exhibit: An exhibit illustrating non-invasive medical imaging technology (2006-2010)

The Dartmouth Medical School Department of Radiology and Montshire Museum exhibit designers have collaborated on an exhibition allowing visitors to learn about various non-invasive medical imaging technologies and what information they can reveal about the human body.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Peter Spiegel, Scientific P.I., Professor and Chair of Radiology, Dartmouth Medical School
  • Jennifer Krawitt, Resident, Department of Radiology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Bob Raiselis, Exhibit Design, Department of Exhibits, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Looking Inside Exhibit

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Experimenting with Plants: Science Investigation Curriculum for Middle School Students (2006-2010)

This project creates a community outreach component to Dr. Schaller’s current research supported by the National Science Foundation. The project builds on another Dartmouth-Montshire Institute curriculum program, Environmental Detectives by expanding the repertoire of student investigations to include plant activities.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • G. Eric Schaller, Scientific P.I., Department of Biology, Dartmouth College
  • Greg DeFrancis, Outreach Science Education P.I., Director of Education, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Rachel Donegan, Program Manager, Science Educator, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Experimenting with Plants

Plus (click or tap to expand) + College Students as Science Mentors in K-5 Classrooms (2006-2010)

This four-year program trains and mentors Dartmouth students in techniques of science inquiry instruction and provides them with opportunities for teaching grades 3-5 in a rural school district. The project intent is to introduce Dartmouth students to methodologies of science instruction, improve their capacity and interest in science teaching, and expand the resources available for quality science education in local schools.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Roger Sloboda, Scientific P.I., Department of Biology, Dartmouth College
  • Greg DeFrancis, Outreach Science Education P.I., Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about College Students as Science Mentors in K-5 Classrooms

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Research on Visitor Conversations as Indicators of Learning in Science Exhibitions (2004-2006)

This research project, a component of a larger national exhibit design and fabrication project led by Montshire Museum, provided for research into how science exhibit design can enhance or inhibit visitor conversations and learning.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Kevin Dunbar, Scientific P.I., Professor of Psychology and Brain Science, Dartmouth College, Current: Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto at Scarbrough
  • David Goudy, Museum P.I., Director, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Leslie Atkins, Post-doctoral scholar, Dartmouth College, Current: Assistant Professor of Physics, California State University at Chico
  • Joan Waltermire, Exhibition Design, Curator of Exhibits, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Bob Raiselis, Exhibition Design, Exhibit Developer, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Research on Visitor Conversations as Indicators of Learning in Science Exhibitions

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Cascades: Programming in Rocketry Science (2003-2005)

This project provided outreach activities for the Cascades research project of the Lynch Rocket Lab, housed in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Dartmouth College. Outreach activities included teacher professional development (grades K-8), family activities, and development of a prototype exhibit.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Kristina Lynch, Scientific P.I., Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
  • Greg DeFrancis, Outreach Science Education Programming, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Bob Raiselis, Exhibit Design, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Cascades

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Using Plants as Model Organisms: A Middle School Experimental Design Curriculum (2001-2002)

Project staff found that for certain teachers, the logistics and ethics of keeping live animals in their classrooms to use as experimental organisms, even aquatic invertebrates, proved to be a barrier to middle school students successfully designing, implementing, and finding measurable results in their own dose-response experiments. This project supported the successful introduction of using plants for a variety of toxicology experiments in which teachers and students develop bioassays such as radish seed germination under different conditions and others.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Mary Lou Guerinot, Scientific P.I., Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College
  • Greg DeFrancis, Outreach Science Education P.I., Director of Education, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Rachel Donegan, Educational Programming, Science Educator, Montshire Museum of Science
Learn more about Using Plants as Model Organisms

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Environmental Detectives: A Middle School Environmental Chemistry Curriculum (2000-2005)

This project engaged 6th-8th grade students with participatory experiences in environmental science with a concentration on the behavior of chemicals in the environment. Placed in the role of problem solving “detectives,” students developed an enthusiasm for environmental science and gained an appreciation for the complexity of understanding environmental issues.

Principal Investigators and Project Staff

  • Carol Folt, Scientific P.I., Dean of Faculty and Professor of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College
  • Greg DeFrancis, Educational Programming P.I., Director of Education, Montshire Museum of Science
  • Rachel Donegan, Educational Programming, Science Educator, Montshire Museum of Science

Learn more about Environmental Detectives