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Educators: Top 6 Ways to Go Back to School with the National Museum of Natural History

by Nicole Webster -- Sep 22, 2016
A woman wearing glasses and blue gloves holds up two human skulls. Teenage students watch in the background.

Nicole Webster is the School Programs Coordinator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. She develops, evaluates, and facilitates...

Students examine Museum collection objects as part of a Q?rius school program. Photo by Jennifer Renteria, Smithsonian.
Students examine Museum collection objects as part of a Q?rius school program. Photo by Jennifer Renteria, Smithsonian.

Welcome back to school, teachers! As you get your 2016-2017 year underway, we would like to highlight the six top ways to bring the science resources of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to your students.

A boy in white dress shirt, black tie, and blue gloves holds and looks at a human skull. Another boy stands next to him.1. Attend a Field Trip Day sponsored by Google (Grades 6-12 at Title I Schools)
Are you a teacher at a Title I middle or high school in the Washington, D.C., metro area? If so, your students are eligible to participate in Field Trip Days sponsored by Google during the 2016-2017 school year. Selected groups receive free buses, IMAX or Butterfly Pavilion tickets, lunch vouchers for students and a set number of chaperones, interactive experiences in Museum exhibits, and school programs in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center.

Interested? Contact us at for more information or to see if your school qualifies.

2. Experience a Q?rius School Program (Grades 6-12)
Q?rius is an interactive and experimental learning space that brings the unique assets of the Museum – the science, researchers, and collections – out from behind the scenes. For school groups in grades 6-12, Q?rius offers 60-minute, pre-registered programs led by Museum Educators. Using objects, data, scientific equipment, and digital media, students complete a series of activities based on Smithsonian research. Book a field trip to Q?rius and help students experience firsthand how real-world investigations can spark new ideas, generate curiosity, deepen understanding of content, and help master scientific practices.

If you are not part of a traditional school group, we also offer Q?rius Homeschool Days.

3. Visit Q?rius jr. (Grades K-5)
Q?rius jr.: a discovery room is a hands-on room featuring real museum objects and artifacts. During Public Hours, visitors explore activities representing exhibitions and behind-the-scenes research at the Museum. Young visitors can look at fossils, skulls, shells and minerals, use a microscope, try on traditional clothing from around the world, and much more! School groups in grades K-5 can take advantage of school programs during the school year.

4. Participate in a Smithsonian Science How Live Chat (Grades 6-8)
This fall, participate in live, text-based chats with scientists who have previously been featured on a "Smithsonian Science How" live webcast. Students will get to have direct conversations with scientists about their career pathways and research at the Museum. Supplement the live chat by watching the "Smithsonian Science How" video archive of the featured scientist and using the available teaching resources before and after the live chat. Check the Science How Schedule for chat dates and times.

A woman in pink shirt and man in gray shirt sitting at a table with rocks and crystals. He is holding a large brown crystal.5. Watch a Smithsonian Science How Webcast (Grades 6-8)
"Smithsonian Science How" delivers real-world science into classrooms through free, interactive, live webcasts and supporting classroom resources. The 30-minute programs feature the research and personalities of Museum scientists, providing your students with positive STEM role models, information about science careers and pathways, and connections to current research. Every webcast includes a package of standards-aligned teaching resources. Visit the Webcast Archives to watch 28 shows and check the Science How Schedule for information about the upcoming season of live webcasts.

6. Explore Science Teaching Resources (Grades 6-8)
Resources include webcasts and podcasts, lessons, online activities, posters, science literacy readings, websites, videos, and Smithsonian science career role models. Use the resources to create a lesson plan, develop a research project, generate an interactive class experience, or otherwise engage pre-teen and teen learners in a science topic. Relevant national science standards are provided.

Categories: School Programs

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