Constellations, Confidence, and Creativity at NCCM
As we enter July, it is astounding how fast time has flown by with NCCM(first time I would write out the name of the site). Each day, I feel more like a member of the NCCM team and my confidence as an educator increases. With July comes the presentation of my program and pop-up for the museum, and I am so excited! After many trial and error concepts and teamwork and creativity, I have decided on my topic. For the program portion of my goal, I was tasked with creating an hour long educational class for a Saturday at the museum, with about ten minutes of educational presentation and the rest a hands-on, comprehensive learning activity. I spent many hours thinking back to my childhood, my favorite experiments and games, researching STEAM websites and resources, and I finally created a program titled “Constellations: The Stories of the Sky.” I plan to explain astrological terms, a brief history of their ancient impact, and the concept of hemispheres in relation to constellations. I find the best way to keep a group of children from 1-12 interested is to engage them in the content in a hands on way. It also involves the group more to have something tangible that they can take home and continue to use to foster their learning outside the museum. I will teach the group how to create homemade constellation projectors out of cardstock paper, tin foil, a push pin, and a flashlight. We will display their creations in a dark room and have them share the story of their constellation. I am extremely excited for my program and I am eager to see how the children respond.
The second portion of my final project with the museum is what the museum calls a pop-up exhibit. These exhibits change daily, and we keep track to never use a pop up more than once a month. That way, the children who have already been to the museum haven’t seen it all, and there is always learning to do! The pop-up I am creating is geared toward the younger museum goers because it is sensory learning focused, but it can no doubt be fun for all. this “guess what your feeling” pop-up will be themed by season, with leaves and branches, acorns and other seasonal items covered to test sensory sharpness. Both educational and fun, I think this pop-up will engage many children and hopefully it can be expanded and tweaked in the future to continue making it better.
I am eternally grateful for this opportunity with NCCM, one that perfectly fulfills the goals I have of attaining a ‘dynamic, interactive and creative’ job, and it is wonderfully inspiring. I hear almost daily how impactful it is to have the museum here in the North Country. It is wonderful to hear those praises, but it is most fulfilling to see that in action with the children. They experience growth, friendship, sharing, and so many other important lessons to help them grow. I am pleased to say I think the growth and learning that takes place is equally due to the interactions they get and the knowledge they are exposed to. I have learned from the amazingly talented staff here at NCCM that patience is the most useful virtue when working with kids, but also I have learned the most valuable lesson, that you are never too old to have fun and be creative. I hope that my program and my pop-up leave a positive impact on the museum and the children, and I cannot wait for the second half of my time with NCCM!