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Re: Unimaginative Kids...

At 09:28 AM 1/21/2003, Toni Geoly wrote:
I volunteer in the Discovery Room at the Smithsonian's Natural
History musem (which actually lacks any dinosaur stuff, but we won't
go there this morning ;) ).

Cool job! The ROM's Discovery Room has a T. rex cast, with separate casts of leg bones to touch and an excavate it yourself Parasaurolophus (minus the limbs). An excellent "touch and feel" place. I could take my class there for a week and still not feel like I hit everything properly. The kids love it.

I think in general, kids are full of wonder, curiosity and
imagination - you just have to know how to key into it, which is
incredibly easy (any little weird or gross tidbit draws them in and
just let them start asking questions from there).  The hard part is
breaking through to some of the parents, who are just looking for a
place to sit down after their kids have dragged them through the
museums all day.

The one thing that you are lucky about is that at least all of the parents who brought them there cared enough to do so. I have had students whose parents didn't send them on the trip because "the museum is boring". Sometimes the kids are the ones who said that and others, it is what the parents believe. My reply is always "That's because they have never gone with me". Then we go as a class, break down into smaller groups (each with a parent volunteer), and the parents wander aimlessly with their group. Often half their trip is standing in the museum shop. Neat stuff, but the REAL THING IS ONLY ONE FLIGHT OF STAIRS UP!!! Sorry.... God love them for volunteering, but you can't relay on all of them to give top notch tours.

To set the record straight, I love children. I even have 1 and 3/4 of them of my own. I think taking them to the museum is fantastic. My daughter is 2 and she has been. It opens their minds to things they often didn't know existed. There is nothing like standing under a Tyrannosaurus rex's mouth to inspire awe in a young mind. The frustration of the trip is always the twelve minute attention span and the fact that they are used to t.v. and pushing buttons. They want the skeletons to be remote controlled. They don't want to look, they want to touch, feel, and experience and they must be taught that this is not always appropriate.

Darryl Jones <dinoguy@sympatico.ca>

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