In July and August the teacher candidates will undertake a six-week Museum Teaching Residency, providing candidates the opportunity to work with adolescents under the mentorship of experienced educators in the Museum’s Youth Initiatives programs. This residency, offered in tandem with EDU600 Applied Research and Methods in Informal Science Settings, will provide the Davis Fellows with insight into how informal education resources, distinct from the school experience, can support student learning and be adapted for a variety of learning modes, and will enable them to link theory to practice from the very start of the program.
Youth Initiative programs serve a diverse group of urban students and make extensive use of collection-rich exhibitions as learning labs; hands-on, minds-on experiences with scientific specimens and cultural artifacts; state-of-the-art digital media, and opportunities to interact with cutting-edge research conducted by Museum scientists. Fellows will serve as teaching assistants, aiding the program instructor in day-to-day teaching tasks, including co-designing parts of lesson plans and co-facilitating daily teaching activities. The teaching candidates will experience firsthand pedagogical approaches such as engaging in thematic, project-based, hands-on learning and teaching with objects to determine prior knowledge and stimulate new interests. They will also learn how technology—including scientific equipment and laboratories, online resources, and Museum resources—is integrated into these programs.
During the second summer, the Davis Fellows will undertake a six-week AMNH-based science practicum under the supervision of a faculty member, including curators and postdoctoral fellows. The practicum’s objective is to help Fellows develop firsthand knowledge of the practice of science through a variety of methods, including fieldwork expeditions, investigations in laboratory settings, and engagement in secondary research methods. The practicum will expose teaching candidates to key concepts, scientific questions, tools, and techniques, and will enable them to experience and implement selected learning activities that align with state and national standards and are relevant to the practices of science explored during the practicum.
Davis Fellows will spend two of the six weeks learning and teaching in field settings in the greater New York City metropolitan region. Examples include investigating metamorphic rocks and evidence of past glaciation in Central Park; exploring landscapes and soil formation in Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, New York; and searching for and characterizing fossils from the late Cretaceous in Monmouth, New Jersey.
They will then spend three of the six weeks under the supervision of Museum curators and postdoctoral fellows using a variety of laboratory-based tools to collect and analyze Earth Science data. As teacher candidates experience firsthand collecting and analyzing Earth Science data, they will also work with Museum faculty to access, learn about, and teach with the broad range of freely available Earth Systems data sets. These experiences will be combined with digital resources, enabling candidates to explore more generally the nature and practice of Earth and Space Science.
In the sixth week of the practicum, each Davis Fellow will develop a unit plan that teaches specific content from the practicum. All of the candidates’ unit plans, along with other Earth Science resources and data sets, will be made available to MAT graduates through the program’s online community.