About "Pieces of Science"

"Pieces of Science" is an online gallery of sixteen educational resources related to a collection of historical science objects. By their nature and mission, science museums believe that primary objects can spark learning, especially when interpreted by talented teachers. To that end, The Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Science Museum, London invited teachers into the collections interpretation process. The teachers, known as Online Museum Educators (OMEs), selected objects that most appealed to them and then proceeded to learn about the object, its history, and its significance. Museum staff facilitated access to the objects and their documentary materials. Later, back in their classrooms, the OMEs developed classroom activities related to their encounters with the real objects. Finally, they created web exhibitions, "pieces," for other educators to use. Collectively, these products are "Pieces of Science."

The two chapters of Online Museum Educators—one based in Philadelphia at The Franklin Institute Science Museum and one based in London at the Science Museum—participated in online conversations throughout the resource development process, sharing their diverse perspectives and offering support to one another. Because the participants cross school levels from primary through secondary, the "Pieces of Science" gallery offers resources for teachers at any level. The "pieces" are arranged in the gallery from primary up through secondary levels. However, several of the resources in the middle reach across many interest levels. For a description of each of the objects featured in the gallery, visit the index. Also be sure to visit the authors page where you'll meet each of the OMEs who participated in the development of "Pieces of Science." They spent ten months working on the project, having started with a late Summer visit to the Museums and finishing up in the Spring as the school year ended. During the school year, they tested ideas back in their classrooms, participated in online conversations, and developed their webpages.

While teachers and other members of the online educational community are the intended audience, science historians and enthusiasts will also enjoy the "Pieces of Science" gallery. Each object is carefully detailed. In several cases, this gallery offers unprecedented access to objects which are not on public display. In other cases, the objects are popular, longstanding parts of public exhibitions in the museums.

Since teachers are the primary audience, the "Pieces of Science" resources have been mapped against the U.S. National Science Education Standards. Teachers who use "Pieces of Science" with students will find themselves attending to several strands of the Standards. To see the connections, visit the Standards section.

Additional information about the Online Museum Educators program is available at The Franklin Institute Online.

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