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Mission & Philosophy
The primary goals of all professional development programs at the Science Museum of Minnesota are to:
A further goal is to support teachers in promoting their students' academic achievement and scientific literacy by engaging students in rigorous experiences for learning science that accurately reflect the nature of scientific inquiry and to do so in such a manner that personal attributes, including race, class, culture, language, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, are not predictors of success.
Student achievement can be raised by providing a coherent, well-taught, standards-based education for all students. To provide this education, science educators must translate standards and content into meaningful classroom experiences. These experiences must be delivered in a manner that incorporates an understanding of students' conceptual development across grade levels. Professional development for science educators must deepen teachers' understanding of science content, investigation skills, standards, and pedagogy; support them in translating these deepened understandings and skills into their own classroom practice; and foster critical reflection around their own teaching practice within a community of science education colleagues.
Teacher Expertise: Implementing high quality science education demands five attributes from educators:
This is referred to collectively as Pedagogical Content Knowledge.
Leadership: Our theory of action is that leadership is a reciprocal learning process in which a community shares a common vision and purpose. Individuals within the community then become authentic leaders by transforming their belief in the vision and sense of purpose into action within the context of their positional leadership. Rather than isolating leaders and expecting them to take back knowledge and strategies to their colleagues, effectively advancing leadership involves a team-based approach in which cohorts of educators participate in common experiences that develop shared knowledge, skills and strategies with the understanding that they will return to their own environment with differentiated roles and responsibilities.
In addition to the above areas, we are especially interested in further developing programs that:
Our programs are offered in partnership with universities, museums, professional societies, and corporations from around the country and are funded by major awards from federal, state, and private foundations. We actively incorporate National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and the Minnesota Academic Standards in Science in our efforts.