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education and hyperspace



As far as dino education goes, let me tell you what ANSP does. I'm sure
the program is considered more of a fundraiser than an education program
for those who are upstairs; it has the double advantage of getting
extra money for the museum and teaching around 300-800 kids a weekend.

We hold what is titled a "safari overnight". The kids, which are usually
school groups, museum members or boy/girl/cub/brownie scouts, come in after
dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, and sleep under the dinosaurs. The
program for the night includes a variety of natural science classes, such
as astronomy (in a portable planetarium), how the dioramas are made, live
animal shows (we have a mini-zoo in the museum) geology and !dinosaurs! All
the classes are taught by trained teacher/naturalists or by armchair
professionals. The most popular overnight is our theme Halloween overnight
which in addition to the above program, includes trick or treating, costume
contests and a haunted house. We also have an "adults only" night, or
teacher's overnight, were teachers come and stay the night, hear our
programs, and get helpful class suggestions and materials. I really don't
recall the cost for all of this, but I know its in the $20 range. Not bad
for a snack, breakfast and entertainment for a night and a morning!

As you may have guessed, I'm a teacher at these grand events! I teach
dinosaurs, geology and have created a paleontology/fossil class. What
amazes me is all the mis-information these kids have! Most of them still
have a hard time believing me when I tell them the dinos in JP are not
accurate ( I have a whole, "what's fiction in JP" class :-/  ). Also, some
of the teachers (science teachers!) that come in still don't have an
accurate picture of the fossilization process! Sometimes I think they are
too busy planning arts and crafts projects to do with fossils (which are
fine, of course) then knowing for sure how the actual process works! The
saddest thing I have ran into is a girl who was shocked to see me teaching
dinosaur classes ("I thought only boys were dinosaur scientists") Argh!
Of course, I do also get those gems who at 12, could write up a copy of
_The Dinosauria_ ;).


Cyber-museums: I come from a poor family, and I have only recently been
able to ever GO to a museum. I have yet to travel to Pittsburgh or Canada,
so of course I have never been out west. Screw this hi-tech video
toaster stuff (by the way, I'm a systems specialist by trade, and a
confirmed wirehead) I would LOVE to just even look at a WWW walk-through!
Just to hold be until I can get over to visit all you other folks in
person...Anyway, I would have cherished such a resource as a kid, even if I
couldn't actually go there, I could at least had a taste and dreamt about
it. 

-Sherry Michael ("what happened to my .sig file???")
ANSP dino docent, overnight T/N, part time education staff