In a time when budget cuts can make it difficult to get students to museums, LC Bates Science programming brings the museum to the students… and even lets them handle the artifacts! This year RSU 18 has been lucky to have LC Bates Science Seminars offered in two of our elementary schools.
“They do an outstanding job of offering hands-on science learning, using rich, engaging and authentic materials!” said Atwood Principal Jenn McGee, “It’s really an awesome outreach for us.”
Serena Sanborn of Goodwill-Hinckley organizes the 6-8 week seminars that bring hands-on science programming and science based museum collections to 2nd through 5th-grade classrooms around the state. The program is possible thanks to grants from a few foundations and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. If the schools had to pay for the program out of pocket, it could cost over $1500 per school.
“We have been doing this programming for around 6 years with around 100 classrooms each year,” said Ms. Sanborn, “ So 2,000 kids are getting some much-needed science about our Maine natural world.”
This year’s program is based on the theme of Inspiring Wonder in the Woods and it includes topics like Maine ecosystems, forest, wetland, coast, Maine Birds, pollination, rocks, and fossils, etc. The program also invites families to free related programs at the LC Bates museum such as Animals in Winter and Maine’s Winter birds.
Atwood’s seminars have focused on wetland and coastal animals, bird migration, insects, and pollination. Using touchable objects, art projects, and puppets, the presenters bring science to life for the students in a way that really resonates with them. “We get to see and touch real materials like skeletons, fur, and teeth,” said one student. Students also said that they enjoyed the books that were read to them and loved exploring the exhibits.
According to second-grade teacher Brynn Charest, one one of the LC Bates educators told the children in the last session at Atwood that “science can be gross and fun and interesting all at the same time.” What could be more perfect for 2nd through 5th graders? Each seminar also hits a number of the Next Generation Science Standards.