By Aiona Bones on August 3, 2011
A small group of teachers from High Tech High in San Diego have recently begun planning for an extraordinary student project. Starting next year, highschoolers in their classes will learn by creating their own interactive inquiry-driven exhibits, taking the entire semester to follow the project from beginning to end, picking up skills in inquiry, investigation, evaluation, and fabrication along the way. In order to find the expertise and museum resources these teachers needed to plan this assignment, they decided to partner with exhibit experts at Reuben H. Fleet (one of our oldest ExNET partners), and our friends at Reuben H. Fleet decided to start them out by bringing them on a trip to the Exploratorium.
Last week I had the honor of hosting this party of dynamic individuals as they embarked on a whir-wind schedule full of conversations with thoughtful exhibit developers and other great Exploratorium minds. The teachers learned about brainstorming techniques from Shawn Lani, took a deep dive into the scientific complexities behind some simple exhibits with Paul Doherty, heard the creation story of many of our newest exhibits, and accumulated tons of pages full of good advice and resources. They were so energized at the end of their second day of meetings that they flew immediately to work on their lesson plan and left with the whole thing already sketched out. The most common exhibit idea we heard: “don’t be afraid to copy good ideas at first and see where the exploration takes you.”