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Museum of Science Programs featured on Capitol Hill

February 01, 2017

On December 8, the Museum of Science's Patti Curtis, Director of the Washington Office, was invited to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., about ways science museums offer connected learning opportunities for learners of all ages. The policy forum entitled, "Connected STEM Learning: Transitioning to a New Vision of Delivering STEM Education," was hosted by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), the STEM Education Coalition, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the Afterschool Alliance.

Curtis described the Museum's partnerships with entertainment icons, education and scientific researchers, other science centers, libraries, industry, schools and policy makers to connect in various ways with audiences of all ages:

  • Blockbuster exhibits like Star Wars: Where Science Meets the Imagination and The Science Behind Pixar;
  • The National Living Laboratory model where cognitive scientists work with museum families,
  • The National Informal STEM Education Network (aka NISEnet) that creates and distributes cutting edge science and engineering content,
  • Engineering is Elementary, nationally renowned curricula for K-5

Curtis also offered a number of congressional policy suggestions, such as:

  • Encourage researchers to budget for public engagement efforts
  • Encourage businesses to connect with science centers for STEM workforce development opportunities
  • Support networked science center programs via IMLS and/or NSF
  • Support integrated STEM professional development teachers & after school educators (ESSA Title II & IV)
  • Connect with your local science center!

Other panelists included Dennis Schatz, of the Pacific Science Center, Seattle, and Ellie Mitchell of the Maryland Out-of-School-Time Network. Speaking with more than 75 Congressional staff members, the panelists described innovative ways students and adults participate in STEM activities throughout their lives—in classrooms, afterschool programs, science centers, libraries, and other settings, as well as online. As states begin to implement the new education law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is important to understand and capitalize on the valuable role of connected STEM learning in various settings.

Learn more and view the slides from the briefing here.

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500