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As new issues of Musings are published, past editions will be archived for continued access. The archive list begins with the most recent past issue, and works back to the very first edition. The highlights of each issue are provided and directly linked to the corresponding article.

Special Edition Fall 2001 | Fall 2001 | Spring 2001 | Winter 2001 | Fall 2000 | Spring 2000

Go back to the current issue: Spring 2002.


Fall 2001 Special Edition
In the wake of the tragic events of September 11th, the role of museums and schools in promoting cross-cultural understanding has never been more important. This Special Edition Fall 2001 issue shows dedicated teachers and professionals rising to this challenge at a time of global unrest.
In the Halls and Beyond the Walls
A Letter from Myles Gordon
Words from the American Museum of Natural History's Vice President for Education Myles Gordon on the important topics covered in this issue of Musings about learning and teaching about the world around us.
In the Classroom
Global Studies: At the New York City Museum School
Jody Madell, who teaches ninth grade at the New York City Museum School, uses museum visits and objects as a starting point for investigations of cultural history and differences.
In the Museum
Meeting God: Religion in Daily Life Comes Alive in a Museum Exhibit
Read how a recent Museum exhibit about Hindu ritual in everyday life used objects and images to engage visitors of all ages.
In the Community
Building Community Among New Museumgoers: The Museum Investigations in Science Program
This article is a description of the Museum Investigations in Science program, which reaches out to communities that are not "traditional" museum audiences.
What's New
The AMNH Education Department Responds to 9/11
Read about examples of programs and strategies from the Museum's Education Department's staff to quickly respond to the needs and concerns of New York City's teachers and students.
AMNH Profile
AMNH Anthropologists Reflect
Portraits of how individual Museum scientists and educators are helping New Yorkers and others deal with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Teacher Feature
Edith Doron of the Brooklyn Children's Museum
A profile of Edith Doron of the Brooklyn Children's Museum, whose inquiry-based programs "get kids to look at each other and realize we all belong here because we all came from somewhere else."
Mind Boggler
The Debated Origins of Pearls
Over the millennia, different civilizations have come up with all sorts of theories to explain the presence of these mysterious treasures from the bottom of the sea.
Resources and Activities
Places to Start
This section is a list of annotated resources that we hope will inspire ideas and ignite dialogue. Included are suggestions for student action and activity.

Fall 2001
As our knowledge of the genome appears to grow exponentially, so does the need for a genetically literate public. This issue of Musings addresses ways in which teachers can build their own knowledge base, stay abreast of the avalanche of information, and give their students the tools and techniques to make their way in the world of the genome.
In the Halls and Beyond the Walls
Genetic Literacy: Meeting the Teaching Challenge
Highlights from current research discuss how new genetic knowledge is altering scientific disciplines and our daily lives, and how inquiry-based learning can help children generate new knowledge on their own.
In the Classroom
Genetics in the Classroom and the Curriculum
Science teachers and science administrators share their experience teaching high school genetics, including key concepts and vocabulary, provocative case studies, and broader social and ethical issues.
In the Museum
A Genetics Lab in a Very Unusual Place
Biologist and teacher Jim Bonacum explains basic molecular biology techniques to students visiting the molecular biology lab in the current Genome exhibition.
In the Community
Using Community Resources to Teach Genetics
Ellen Wahl, Director of the Museum's Youth and Family Programs, discusses how to integrate learning about genetics into students' daily lives by using local resources.
What's New
Hot Off the Press! Three New American Museum of Natural History Books
Three definitive new titles show general readers and high-school or college students what's happening at the frontiers of biodiversity studies, astronomy, and Earth science.
AMNH Profile
Alexandria Wise and Dr. Susan Perkins: Student and Mentor at Work in the Lab
High-school student Alexandria Wise assisted mentor Dr. Susan Perkins and Dr. Mark Siddall in a study of the evolutionary history of leeches in a genetics lab in the Museum.
Teacher Feature
Cindy Sheets: Keeping One Step Ahead of Her Gifted Students
A resource teacher for gifted students in eight different public elementary schools describes how she planned a unit on genetics.
Mind Boggler
Only Time Will Tell
Learn why botanists think that the Kentucky coffee tree may be waiting for mastodons to come by.

Spring 2001
Observation is the cornerstone of good scientific practice and the subject of this issue of Musings. Scientists must gather evidence in order to answer questions, and teachers must convey the fundamentals of this process to their students, whether in the lab, the classroom, or the field. Features of this issue include an early childhood educator discussing why it's never too early to start this process, an Advanced Placement biology teacher talking about the value of a detailed scientific notebook, and a feature on why good observations are subjective as well as objective.
In the Halls and Beyond the Walls
From Seeing to Observing: Scientific Observation in the Classroom and Beyond
An examination of writings by the naturalist E.O. Wilson and other scholars points out the importance of careful and meaningful observations, as well as the link between this process and teaching students to reflect on what they see in a scientific manner.
In the Classroom
Learning to Observe: Developing Observation Skills
The Museum's Director of Professional Development, Dr. Maritza MacDonald, explains why observation is at the forefront of all of her workshops.
In the Museum
Observing Dioramas
Educator Lisa Breslof discusses why the Museum's legendary dioramas are not just a favorite stop for visitors, but also an invaluable tool for teaching observation skills.
In the Community
Scientists on Safari—On Very Short Legs
One of the first Museum programs to deal with teaching science to preschoolers is also an important outreach effort to underserved communities.
What's New
And the Codie Awards Go to...
Learn about awards for Science Seekers and Classroom Connect's Connected University, through which the Museum's Seminars on Science are currently offered. Also, read about the Museum's wide array of professional development opportunities.
AMNH Profile
Scientist Profile: Dr. Lowell Dingus
Paleontologist and science writer Dr. Lowell Dingus talks about the need for the scientific community to communicate effectively with the general public.
Teacher Feature
Pat Peterson—A Sherlock Holmes in Bio Class
"A basic tool of an observer of nature is a very careful eye," says Pat Peterson, who teaches Advanced Placement biology and chemistry in Kintnerville, Pennsylvania, and who put those skills to use on a deep-sea scientific expedition.
Mind Boggler
A Touch of Glass
Find out how the passage of a lightning bolt through the ground can be preserved as a delicate "tree" of hollow glass tubes.

Winter 2001
This issue of Musings focuses on field trips—to a museum, into your backyard, or into your community—experiences that can be as valuable as they are memorable. Features includes the secrets to a successful field trip, a profile of a Museum scientist who is now sharing her research with teachers, and the way one classroom teacher took the science and scientists of the American Museum of Natural History into her Texas school's backyard.
In the Halls and Beyond the Walls
A discussion of research about the effectiveness of field trips, along with anecdotes by AMNH staff about their own memories of field trips as children.
In the Classroom
Secrets of a Successful Field Trip: Two Museum Educators Tell All
Two experienced Museum educators, Amy O'Donnell and Stephanie Fins, share well-tested tips for a successful field trip.
In the Museum
A Field Trip "into the Field"
Suggests ways of framing your field trip as a scientific expedition in order to bring a sense of adventure to "collecting" the specimens you will see.
In the Community
Bringing It Back to the Bronx
Discusses field trips to the Museum as part of a cycle of connections between the community and the Museum, with a spotlight on a learning coordinator from the Bronx who practices this method.
What's New
Take the Tools of the Trade... on a Fact-Finding Mission
Learn about Science Seekers, a middle school CD-ROM series, which gives your students the chance to solve a real-world problem the way scientists do.
AMNH Profile
Scientist Profile: Dr. Adriana Aquino
Ichthyologist Dr. Adriana Aquino discusses her work and how she shares her research with teachers.
Teacher Feature
Teacher Feature: Margo Henderson
Margo Henderson, a third-grade teacher from Texas, incorporates the scientific skills learned from the AMNH's online course series, Seminars on Science, into her classroom.
Mind Boggler
Humongous Fungus
Learn how a species of mushroom could form what might be the world's largest organism.

Fall 2000
This issue of Musings includes examples of student-directed scientific research projects, descriptions of different approaches to field trip investigations at the American Museum of Natural History, highlights of online scientific expeditions, profiles of two Museum scientists, and a description of the new seminars that bring you the science, the scientists, and the collections of the Museum.
In the Halls and Beyond the Walls
Discusses Museums: Places of Learning, a research article by George Hein and Mary Alexander, which suggests different ways of learning in museums, with a specific focus on inquiry. The following are three feature stories about AMNH programs that practice these methods:
In the Museum
Not Just One Kind of Field Trip
Describes how museum objects, artifacts, and dioramas can be used for research-based investigations.
In the Classroom
Young Naturalists in the Spotlight
Presents the Young Naturalist Awards, an annual scientific essay contest sponsored by the AMNH.
Online
Take Your Class Around the World... Without Leaving the School
Learn about some of the 200-plus scientific expeditions that AMNH scientists embark on each year, and how your classroom can benefit from them.
National Center News
Seminars on Science
Learn more about the AMNH's online science courses for teachers.
AMNH Profile
Profiles of two of the AMNH's world-renowned scientists: Dr. Ross MacPhee and Dr. Melanie Stiassny.
Teacher Feature
Biodiversity Counts: Teacher Wins Big Grants
Meet Carol Paine, a seventh-grade life science teacher from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who used Biodiversity Counts, an AMNH life sciences program, to win grant money for her school.
Mind Boggler
Learn more about these two amazing discoveries by exploring the Mind Boggler.
Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places?
Lake Vostok in Antarctica likely contains a microbial community that has been cut off from the rest of the biosphere for millions of years—underthree kilometers of ice!
A Gem of a Fossil
Learn about one of the more unique finds in Australia's world-renowned opal field, Coober Pedy.

Spring 2000
The premier issue of Musings introduces stories about exhibitions, research, and discoveries at the Museum and beyond, along with effective science education ideas, drawn from AMNH staff's own experience and from teachers around the country.
Museum in the Classroom
Reaching Out to the World
Myles Gordon, the Vice President for Education, describes the history of outreach by the American Museum of Natural History, and launches Musings, a new online newsletter for science educators.

National Center News
Biodiversity Counts: Now in its Third Year in Schools
An update on Biodiversity Counts, a supplementary life-science curriculum for middle schools.

Small School Makes Big Discoveries
Fifth and sixth grade students from Block Island School, Rhode Island, find and record rare specimens.

At the Museum
Body Art: Marks of Identity
A past exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History that examined the historical and cultural significance of ancient and modern body art practices.

Using Body Art with Your Students
Ways to link the cultural practices exhibited in "Body Art" to classroom curricula.

Additionally:

Teacher Feature
Reef Watch: Biodiversity at Risk?
A spotlight on Reef Watch, a research experience program for teachers in the Florida Keys.

Teacher Reflections
Teachers from around the country reflect on their experiences while attending Reef Watch.

Grab Bag
Bug Colony
Learn about bone-cleaning beetles, used by the Museum to prepare specimens for research or exhibition. (An excerpt from a November 1999 issue of Rotunda, the AMNH Members' publication.)
Mind Boggler
Pick up an interesting fact about sustainability to share with your students.

© 2001 American Museum of Natural History

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