This unique professional development opportunity invites a small team of teachers from a single school district to spend a week at the Museum of Science during the academic year. As participants in the sabbatical, teachers explore and use our resources; observe our teaching staff in action; pursue an inquiry project in an interest area of their choice; and make connections between these learning experiences and their curriculum. The collegial atmosphere of the program offers ample time for teachers to engage in productive discussion with fellow participants and Museum staff. These discussions offer an arena for exchanging ideas about content and pedagogy in the teaching of science and engineering practices.
The sabbatical week is not intended to be simply a series of activity-based, hands-on workshops or lectures. The role of Museum staff during the sabbatical is to encourage and guide participants as they explore the many resources for learning available at the Museum of Science.
Through structured mini lessons and individual exploration, participants discover how museum exhibits and people can interact in ways that reinforce learning goals for teachers and for students. Since museums are filled with unusual environments, phenomena and objects, both real and constructed, Museum staff members also open some doors and locate materials for participants so they can pursue the development of new knowledge on their own.
The program was originally developed with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in support of new curriculum standards. Since 1997, the Genzyme Corporation has provided funding to preserve, evaluate, and evolve the program. The program is currently available to teachers in Boston, Cambridge, Framingham, Waltham, and Westborough. Museum staff work with district leaders to recruit participants and to ensure that the program aligns with district initiatives. Lessons originally developed for this program have been made available to teachers in other districts through our Saturday Workshop series.
Support provided by Genzyme.
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