Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let's Go Exploring

Using Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception, is an experience that could consume hours.  Where else can you discover how to make a battery using your hands, explore how to make a virtual skull, how to tie the six best knots to use on a voyaging canoe, listen to different frog sounds and make a frog chorus, or learn how to make a light painting.  It's one stop shopping for coolness.

Exploratorium was selected in 2011 by the AASL to appear on their Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning.  It falls under the Content Resources:  Lesson Plans and More, Standards for 21st Century Learners, 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information, 2.4.4 Develop directions for future investigations, and 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

At the site's home page users are invited by a selection of tabs at the top to peruse the pages according to their status, Who Are You?; educators, parents, artists, teens, museum professionals, scientist, geeks or just plain curious.

When the Explore tab is chosen the following categories appear:  astronomy and space, culture, Earth, everyday science, human body, listening, living things, material world, mind and seeing.  Within each category are thumbnail visuals when moused over give a brief description of what is offered. 

Location and directions, hours and administration, plan your visit, calendar, Tactile Dome, school field trips and groups and parties are options available under the Visit tab.

Under the Membership tab users learn about levels and benefits, how to join on the spot, birthday parties, events, programs, day camps, the homeschool program and frequently asked questions.

By clicking on the About tab readers can better understand the museum's mission which is partial stated below:

The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art, and human perception located in San Francisco, California. We believe that following your curiosity and asking questions can lead to amazing moments of discovery, learning, and awareness, and can increase confidence in your ability to understand how the world works. We also believe that being playful and having fun is an important part of the process for people of all ages.

We create tools and experiences that help you to become an active explorer: hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits; a Web site with over 25,000 pages of content; film screenings; workshops for lifelong learners ...

Each year I do a unit with our third grade students building on the Caldecott award winning book, Snowflake Bentley written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian.  Using the site search box typing in snowflakes, I was rewarded with a plethora of resources; 1,040 to be exact.  To narrow your search on the right hand side are other keyword phrases to use. 
Exploratorium is an outstanding resource for professional and personal discovery.  It's a way of bringing the museum right into your own room.

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