Montshire Museum of Science hits the road with two traveling education programs
Pop-Up Science will deploy a mobile tinkering lab to 15 community sites across the Upper Valley, while The 40 Schools Project will work with upper elementary students and teachers to build engineering and art skills through whimsical and creative science projects.
“National studies show that rural kids have the least opportunity to participate in informal education programs outside of school time,” says Greg DeFrancis, the Montshire’s education director. “That’s why programs like these are so important. They get kids excited, get their hands and minds working, and get them thinking about all the ways that science intersects with their lives.”
This summer, the Museum’s Pop-Up Science lab will travel to county fairs, shopping malls, outdoor markets, and community events. Science educators and teen fellows will invite families to engage in a tinkering project. Participants can learn about circuits, motors, and balance to assemble a personalized, jittering Scribble Bot or experiment with 3D architecture and LED lighting to construct a miniature Electric Island. The Montshire team designed both hands-on projects to introduce young tinkerers to new concepts while encouraging them to explore their own creative vision. Pop-Up Science is a part of the Creativity Garden—a nationwide project of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, generously supported by Disney.
Inspired by the Montshire’s 40th anniversary this year, The 40 School Project will provide professional development, instructional guides, building materials, and classroom support to successfully implement engineering and design lessons into school curriculums. Over the past two years, Montshire’s professional educators have developed and tested more than a dozen exciting tinkering activities for students and families at the Museum. The Montshire is recruiting 5th and 6th grade teachers in 40 schools ranging from Hardwick, Vt. to Keene, N.H. At least half of the schools selected to participate will represent small, underserved, rural populations with 40 percent of the student body or more qualifying for the Federal Free and Reduced Price School Meal Program. The project is made possible with funding from the Kettering Family Foundation.