Thursday, January 08, 2009

News From San Francisco's Exploratorium 1-8-2009

1) Exploratorium Brings Hands-On Science to Dalai Lama's Monks in India

Science for Monks -- Exploratorium Brings Playful Exploration in Science to Tibetan Monks in India January 20-31, 2009.

Inspired by the Dalai Lama, a team of his monks are now ambitiously attempting to study not only in the traditions of Buddhism, but to also share in Western scientific inquiry and evidence on the physical plane. Enter the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The goal is to shape these already highly educated monks into science leaders.

An Exploratorium team consisting of neuroscientist Luigi Anzivino, and creative educators Mike Petrich and Karen Wilkinson, will be traveling to Sarnath, the Buddhist monastery in India where, fittingly, the Buddha gave his first lesson 2500 years ago. The Exploratorium team will fill up their classroom in India with mylar, light sources and simple mechanics. They will be using activities and curriculum based on light, sound and motion to transform the participating monks into hands-on science explorers. Once trained, the monks will eventually head up science study groups using similar materials and methods in their own monasteries. There are hundreds of monasteries scattered throughout the Tibetan communities in India, and potentially thousands of monks interested in studying science.

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2) $1.6 Million for Elementary Science Teachers from Moore Foundation


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is taking a creative approach to the Bay Area crisis in elementary school science education, the subject of alarming headlines this past year. The Foundation is supporting a program, headquartered at the Exploratorium, that leverages the resources of the Exploratorium and the Lawrence Hall of Science, to support elementary teachers as they introduce a newly-adopted state science curriculum. The $1.6 million grant is a response to the recent study conducted by the Center for Research, Evaluation and Assessment at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, identifying, for example, that Bay Area elementary teachers feel less prepared to teach science than any other subject and revealing that Bay Area elementary students also receive half the science instruction of the national average. The grant specifically funds a two-year pilot program to provide on-going and targeted professional development support to teachers through a collaborative partnership with select Bay Area districts, demonstrating its effectiveness through improved teacher confidence and preparedness to teach science, improved quality and quantity of classroom science instruction, and increased student interest, engagement and positive attitudes for science.

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1 comment:

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