Welcome to The Classroom Beyond – our very first podcast episode!
For our inaugural podcast, I talk with science educator Kady Yeomans of the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. The small city is the museum hotspot of rural Georgia, and the 100,000-foot Tellus is their crown jewel. Kady and I talk about techniques for working a museum floor and also, what happens when controversial topics come up, like evolution and cosmology?
Kady relates this story about how she got interested in archaeology in the first place:
One of the defining moments of my career is when I pulled a pot out of the ground, down in Belize, several thousand years old, and my thumbprint matched the thumbprint of the person who made the pot. And I had to sit there for a minute and collect myself. … it’s so important for these kids to be able to say, “Wow, this is a real fossil in my hand! I can learn about this, I can study this! This is real!” It takes it from just something behind glass cases and in books, to something they can really put their hands on.
So many of us who work in education, science, music, or sports can trace our origins to some early-life experience! In the area of the environment, a scientist at the University of Colorado named Louise Chawla has made “early experiences with nature” a big part of her research, so I’ve blogged about it here.
Jargon of the Week
Kady’s work at Tellus exemplifies an approach called audience-centered teaching that grows out of one of Tilden’s Five Principles. Every week, I highlight a technical term from the field of informal education. I want to demystify some of this jargon! So this week’s jargon post is all about audience-centered teaching and how you can implement it yourself!