The Attleboro Public Library in Attleboro, MA has been running a book club for kids in grades 2-4 and their adult since 2011. The goal of the program is to get a discussion started between kids and their peers, as well as with their adults. Group members read the same title (adults too) then meet […]
The Strong provides a resource for scholars looking for definitions of play through the Museum’s Elements of Play chart. “Play is difficult to define because it is complex. Many scholars find that describing play is easier than defining it. To help advance discourse around a definition of play, research undertaken at The Strong suggests that six […]
Created in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota, and funded by the National Science Foundation, Create.Connect is an exhibit and program space at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park that brings together science and history focused on Indiana’s history. The activities promote conversation between family members to elicit relevant connections to visitors’ own lives. Create.Connect Conner […]
Research Summary Research shows that social interaction within families leads to overall enjoyment and learning because it helps families develop a shared knowledge, better understanding of each other, and family memories. Tips & Takeaways Get people talking to you and, more importantly, each other. Design discussion prompts into the program Add opportunities for problem-solving, teamwork, collaboration, […]
Think about not only hands-on, but also minds-on (intellectual and emotional) engagement. Active participation is more than simply a “do.” Hands-on elements should be used to get participants thinking and understanding your content.
This article explains the concept of “intent participation,” learning through observation and listening followed by active participation. The authors contrast this with “assembly-line instruction” in which experts simply transmit information, which is the normal practice in many US schools and still in some museum and library programs. The concept has implications for program design and facilitation as it encourages practitioners […]
The videos and resources on this page of the Brain Building in Progress website discuss how to engage 3 to 5-year-old children in meaningful conversation by building in opportunities to talk, modeling conversation, and using complex language and vocabulary. Includes a Facilitator’s Guide.
This exhibition critique discusses how the careful and varied use of labels in the British Galleries at the V&A Museum in London makes for an especially enjoyable and educational experience. Sections include, Segmentation and variety Evocative and succinct language Prompting meaning-making through conversation Hands-on and interactive Foundation laid through research and prototyping
The USS Constitution Museum Team took a new look at an existing program, an interactive demonstration of caulking (waterproofing) a ship’s planking. By taking a step back, thinking creatively, and doing intensive observation and prototyping, we turned a fun but mostly kids activity into a truly intergenerational program that actively engages adults and kids together […]
This set of guidelines published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Dublin, Ireland, provides adults with examples of good interactions to have with children that promote the children’s learning and development. It provides strategies for positive and successful interactions such as building relationships, facilitating, organizing and directing which promotes a balance of […]
The Adult Child Interaction Inventory (ACII) was the product of a three-year NSF-funded research project that aimed to better understand the non-verbal and verbal interactions between adults and preschool children in museums during STEM programs.
Sue Allen discusses how the diversity of experiences at the Exploratorium gave her an opportunity to “make comparisons among the kinds of learning experiences visitors have with different types of exhibit elements.” Allen also includes her advice on various methods of data gathering and analysis for exhibit evaluators.
Science museums often seek to create open-ended, interactive exhibits designed to support visitors in conducting scientific inquiry. Visitors, however, do not always have the skills or previous knowledge needed to perform in-depth investigations to answer certain scientific questions.
In this post from the Art Museum Teaching blog, Mike Murawski emphasizes the importance of conversation for visitor engagement and cooperative learning in museums.
The USS Constitution Museum invites you to explore family learning and assess where your institution is along the 10 Steps!
There are multiple ways to convey a theme. Labels are a way to present information, but not the only way. Since our goal at the USS Constitution Museum was to encourage family learning through engagement, interaction and conversation, we tried to employ various techniques so that visitors with different learning styles could access information in different ways.
Why should I use this technique? Rather than limiting the flow of information from museum to visitor, comment boards or books offer visitors an opportunity to share their thoughts and state their opinions. It moves an exhibition closer to a discussion rather than simply a presentation from an all-knowing authority.
Why should I use this technique? Lift flaps are inexpensive to fabricate and they can carry a wide range of messages. Sometimes a lift flap adds an additional layer of information, sometimes it highlights an interesting anecdote or makes visitors consider a different perspective.
Why should I use this technique? Discoveries can trigger conversation and encourage visitors to slow down and take a closer look. Shifting scale or including a surprise can stop visitors for a moment and prompt them to share their discovery with another family member.
Why should I use this technique? A flipbook or questioning interactive is simple, cheap, engaging and effective. Families sit, smile and converse, laughing and learning together. It can be used to foreshadow exhibit elements, and it invites the audience to pause for a moment and consider the experience ahead.