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Sidebar: Statement of "Goals" in Doing Science Programming at the Children's Museum
Written by Bernie Zubrowski
Statement of Bernie Zubrowski's "Goals" in Doing Science Programming at the Children's Museum as of June 1987 Author: Bernie Zubrowski
The essential purpose of the exhibits I design, the books I write, and the workshops and programs I conduct in schools and at the museum is to encourage children and adults to explore the natural and man-made world. I do this by presenting what I call intrinsically interesting phenomena. There are materials, natural objects and situations which have high aesthetic appeal, or counter-intuitive properties, or are directly related to practical aspects of people's everyday lives. The emphasis is on direct exploration of phenomena by way of carefully designed materials and thought-provoking questions. The basic pedagogical approach is to promote an interaction between the phenomena and the learner, with the teacher acting as a mediator guiding the exploration so that basic scientific principles emerge through dialogue rather than direct teaching. The materials are designed to engage children and adults at the sensual, affective and cognitive level for it is my position that the whole person has to be engaged if the learning is going to take place. The phenomena are presented in a variety of forms so that by repeated exposure the learner will be able to grasp the essential properties as they relate to basic scientific principles. Implied in this approach is that learning is a lifelong undertaking. The phenomena presented have been chosen because they represent concrete instances of conceptual archetypes that can be developed to various levels of abstraction. As a person moves along in their schooling these increasing levels of abstraction become more prominent in their learning, but reference is always to the basic phenomena.
Overall, the purpose is to engage children and adults in a satisfying exploration of their environment doing it by means of a framework that engages the entire person so that learning is meaningful and personally satisfying.