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Cosmic Breakthroughs

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BC: The End | Anderson, D., Piscitelli, B., Weier,K., Everett, M., and Taylor, C. "Children's Museum Experiences: Identifying Powerful Mediators of Learning." Curator 45 (3): 213-231. Falk, J. "The Museum." In Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience, 39-65. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2009. Johnson, A., Huber, K., Cutler, N., Bingmann,M., and Grove, T. The Museum Educator's Manual. Lanham, Maryland: Alta Mira Press, 2009.

FC: Weekend Family Workshop Cosmic Breakthroughs! by Julie Bowman

1: I observed a family program at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA. The theme for this week's project: Cosmic Breakthroughs! which focuses on Yuri Gagrain, the first man in space, and the first space shuttle mission. | Goals & Challenges: 1. Introduce the history of Yuri Gagarin and the space shuttle. 2. Briefly, and simply, explain and demonstrate how rockets work. 3. Create an activity that families can do together. One that is multi-modal in nature. | http://www.museumofflight.org/event/2013/apr/06/cosmic-breakthroughs

2: Signs like this were displayed throughout the museum. The program was also advertised in the member magazine and the museum's website. Signage was clear and helpful in locating the program and deciphering the theme.

3: The museum educator, Robin, began the program by reading Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly. It was a story about a mouse that saves the astronauts aboard a space shuttle. The story was a way to capture the attention of the children, and introduce the shuttle.

4: Challenge: Introduce the history of Yuri Gagarin and the space shuttle to a variety of ages. The program attracted families with very young children (under 7) during the story and discussion portion. Young children do not have a good grasp of history (Johnson, p.78). The language Robin used was appropriate. The children were encouraged to participate, but the parents were not as engaged in the discussion. | She had pictures and models as well.

5: Challenge: Briefly, and simply, explain and demonstrate how rockets work. After the story and discussion, Robin introduced the project, a shuttle slap rocket. She demonstrated and explained how it worked using air pressure and a slap rocket launcher. The language she used was age appropriate for the kids, but also not too simple for adult neophytes.

6: Project Board: Visuals as well as text instructions, which appeals to various learning styles.

7: Tables were arranged in a square, which created a natural designated area for the program, and a space for the family to connect. Many families stayed for the entire hour, creating a special experience together (Falk, p. 51).

8: Some young children just colored or played with the scissors, cutting scraps of paper. Robin let the parents decide when their children were building motor skills, and when it might be dangerous.

9: Some families made the project together. In others, the parents took over the project, but let the kids test out the rocket. | Challenge: Create an activity that families can do together. Particularly, one that is multi-modal in nature.

10: The rockets attracted adolescents as well. | One family came after the story, and chose to read it together.

11: Overall, the program appealed to various ages. The adults and teens were interested in the rocket. | Families came together. Children learned within their own context through story, play, and objects (Anderson).

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  • By: Julie B.
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  • Title: Cosmic Breakthroughs
  • Museum of Flight Family Program Julie Bowman
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  • Published: over 5 years ago