Museum Without Walls: Imagining New Formative Spaces

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Darwin: Educators' Professional Development Program Evaluation Prepared by Ellen Giusti

New York area educators were invited to a professional development event at the American museum of Natural History on February 2, 2006, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. The purpose of the evening was to acquaint teachers with the Museum's Darwin exhibition and to offer methods for using it to enhance classroom instruction. The event took place in the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians and the exhibition in Gallery 3. Darwin is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the Museum of Science, Boston; The Field Museum, Chicago; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; and the Natural History Museum, London, England. The evening began with a talk by Darwin curator, Niles Eldredge, followed by remarks from AMNH Education staff and NYC Board of Education officials. Educators then visited the exhibition and attended demostrations of activities designed to broaden the scope of the exhibition for students. Demonstration tables focused on journal writing, botany, insect observations and voyage of the Beagle. In addition, educators were given materials to use in the classroom, both as stand-alone acitvities and pre- and post-visit experiences. Educators were treated to an appetizing arrray of food and beverages, served by elegantly clad wait staff. Time was available for socializing and networking with colleagues. The American Museum of Natural History gratefully acknowledges The Howard Phipps Foundation for its leadership support. Significant support for Darwin has also been provided by Chris and Sharon Davis, the Austin Hearst Foundation, Jack and Susan Rudin, and Rosalind P. Walter. Additional funding provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Dr. Linda K. Jacobs. Over 350 educators participated in the evening's events. Attendees were asked to fill out a form evaluating the professional development program. To thank them for participating in the evaluation, they were given 2 complimentary M+1 tickets to come back to the Museum on their own. Some 211 educators completed the evaluation. Results are summarized below in tables, followed by quotes in the educators' own words. Table 1. What grade do you teach

Pre K - elem MS HS Other/Various Total

Frequency 49 33 95 34 211

Percent 23 16 45 16 100

Almost half the attendees (45%) teach in high school, the level at which Darwin and evolution are more likely to be part of the science curriculum. Page 1

Table 2. School Type Frequency 150 13 24 187 24 211 Table 3. Subject area taught Percent 71 6 11 89 11 100

Public Private Other Total Missing Total System

Life science/biology Social studies/humanities Other Total Missing Total System

Frequency 84 15 101 200 11 211

Percent 40 7 48 95 5 100

Table 4. What was your main reason for coming this evening?
Frequency 23 62 41 4 1 5 65 1 3 10 9 224 Percent 10 28 18 2 0 2 29 0 1 4 4 100

Professional development Classroom preparation See exhibition Lecture/panel Baruch NYAPDP Personal interest/interest in topic Learn how to use AMNH Recommended by friend/colleague Networking/team building Other Total

Classroom preparation To see how I can incorporate more social studies and science in my teaching. To learn about Darwin. (27) I wanted to investigate teaching strategies for using [the] exhibit and teaching evolution with children. (8) Page 2

To enhance and enrich our theme on how to be a scientist and observer. (18) To gain a better understanding of Darwin and the Evolution Theory so I can incorporate it into the curriculum. (37) Science, nature and religion. (40) To collect ideas for possible ideas for exit projects. (116) The New York State curriculum is based on evolution. (176) To improve my ability to communicate more clearly about evolutionary theory. (209) To see the exhibition Studied the website [and] wanted to see it [Darwin exhibition] up close. [I] am a...
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