There’s a new focus in teaching and it’s called “blended learning”. What does it mean? Well, to the education staff at the Cosmosphere, it means providing an educator a full web-based Cosmosphere curriculum package, which engages students in learning in a way only the Cosmosphere can–by combining real-life challenges with technology, history and connections to industry experts–to promote exciting learning opportunities.
As Tracey Tomme, Chief Operating Officer, explained it—with this new service, a teacher will choose from a variety of topics the Cosmosphere has to offer. He or she will then receive the full tool-kit and lesson plan package for that subject electronically. Some of the components of the curriculum packages include hands-projects, demonstration videos, lectures, materials lists, vocabulary lists, live video conferences with Cosmosphere Science educators or visiting experts, writing prompts and grading rubrics. In addition to the topic, the pace is chosen and set by the educator. Once a unit is purchased, the product becomes more like an interactive workbook, with the Cosmosphere team supporting educators through each set of lessons.
“This is relevant learning!” Tomme said. “Our content is career-path focused and truly presents students the chance to learn about and solve real challenges the aerospace industry is trying to solve…or will be trying to solve by the time these students enter the workplace.”
Currently, three full curricula are available: Meet Mr. Moon and Spies and Propaganda (appropriate for third through fifth grade), and Space Junk (for fourth and fifth grade). A complementary hands-on project, Solar System Bracelets (lower and upper level options), is offered to give educators a sample activity similar to the activities in other packages. Each unit is available in three languages: English, Spanish and German. As is the case with all the educational content the Cosmosphere provides, these new curricula packages meet classroom standards and tie in all aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) with the arts, language arts and of course, history.
“It’s not like turning the page in your old textbook. It more like getting the chance to work with a jet pilot or a NASA engineer,” said Tomme excitedly.
“Don’t have it in your budget to travel to the Cosmosphere to see the real Apollo 13 command module? Or hire an astrophysicist on staff?” Tomme asked. “Well, we’ve got your solution for that— this new service.”
And while she agrees that nothing can quite compare to seeing a historical space artifact in person, with these new blended learning curriculum packages, the Cosmosphere is able to provide educators amazing learning opportunities, delivered to their classrooms anywhere in the world.
“We appreciate that education in our museum looks different than it might in a classroom–and we want to share that philosophy more broadly.”
For more information on the Cosmosphere’s blended learning programs, visit: education.cosmo.org or call the Education Department at: 620.665.9323 or 800.397.0330.