Museum Residencies and Science Practicum

Museum Residencies

Summer One

In July and August, Residents undertake a Museum Teaching Residency, providing them the opportunity to work with adolescents under the mentorship of experienced educators in the Museum’s Youth Initiatives programs. This residency provides Residents 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 enables 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. Residents 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. Residents 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 also learn how technology—including scientific equipment and laboratories, online resources, and Museum resources—is integrated into these programs.

Summer Two

During the second summer, Residents undertake a seven-week AMNH-based science practicum (SCI 680 Science Research Practicum) under the supervision of a faculty member, including curators and postdoctoral fellows. The practicum’s objective is to help Residents 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 exposes Residents to key concepts, scientific questions, tools, and techniques, and enables 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.

Residents spend two of the seven 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 near the Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, New York; and searching for and characterizing fossils from the late Cretaceous in Monmouth, New Jersey. (Download the Hernshead Field Guide created by graduates of the MAT program in 2016.) 

They also spend time under the supervision of Museum curators and postdoctoral fellows using a variety of laboratory-based tools to collect and analyze Earth Science data. As Residents experience firsthand collecting and analyzing Earth Science data, they also work with Museum faculty to access, learn about, and teach with the broad range of freely available Earth Systems data sets. These experiences are combined with digital resources, enabling Residents to explore more generally the nature and practice of Earth and space Science.

Each Resident develops a teaching resource based on their research in the practicum. They also formally present to the Museum community about their summer research.