The Vanderbilt Museum Introduces its Traveling Classroom

Education on Long Island hits the road--once again.

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Education on Long Island is hitting the road once again. Last April, the Suffolk County Historical Society took its “Structures and Cultures” exhibit of authentic artifacts from four nomadic tribes from around the world on the road in a 37-foot retrofitted Winnebago donated to it by the American Museum of Natural History.

And now The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, in partnership with the National Grid Foundation, is taking its new science-education outreach program, Traveling Classroom: Discovering the Universe, on the road in a 37-foot customized recreational vehicle gifted to it by the American Museum of Natural History, which also developed the curriculum for the unique astronomy and astrophysics program.

The Vanderbilt Museum will host a demonstration of the program on Wed., Oct. 30, from 3 to 4 p.m. at Oldfield Middle School in Greenlawn. Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum and Robert Keller, president of the National Grid Foundation are scheduled to speak at the event, along with Suffolk County Legislators William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station) and Steven Stern (D-Huntington and State Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R, I, C-East Northport).

“At a time when many institutions have to cut programs, the Vanderbilt is pleased to be able to expand its education outreach,” Reinheimer said. “Our Traveling Classroom – and our partnership with the National Grid Foundation – will enable us to enhance the Vanderbilt’s longtime role as an adjunct to the science curriculum in local schools. The Discovering the Universe program perfectly complements our planetarium programs by providing students with observation principles for studying space.”

The traveling classroom offers cutting-edge science education to students in grades 3 through 12 and features state-of-the-art interactive technology. As students move through each of the program’s five stations: Light, Telescope, Digital Imaging, 3-D Universe, and Gravity, they will experience, step-by-step, the process by which astronomers study the Universe.

The program, which will be offered to a limited number of schools, also offers professionally developed curricula that includes a downloadable teacher-resource guide.

Discovering the Universe is designed to meet New York State standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology (MST) and directly addresses a number of the articulated MST standards.

“Helping children to become excited about science is one of the most critical educational priorities we have as a Nation and this stunning traveling window into the Universe will become a major resource for encouraging Long Island students to pursue careers in science,” said Keller.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Vanderbilt, one of Long Island’s premier museums. With their highly skilled team of educators and a state-of-the-art planetarium, we are certain that the Vanderbilt will play an even larger role in promoting student interest in science.”

For more information about the program, call Beth Laxer-Limmer, at the Vanderbilt Education Center, at 631-854-5552.

Include your comments below or on our Long Island Discussion Forum.

[Source: SC Vanderbilt Museum]

Photo Courtesy of SC Vanderbilt Museum depicts Vanderbilt science educator Tom Rico and students in the Traveling Classroom. Video via SC Vanderbilt Museum YouTube Channel.