Posted by: COSI | December 5, 2008

Sweet spots of interaction

I just wrapped up a hectic but great multi-city trip that was personally satisfying and intellectually stimulating.

Amber at home

Amber at home

It started with visiting my youngest daughter Amber in Providence. I’m proud of all three daughters and their accomplishments. Amber has chosen social work and our son-in-law Chris left accounting for teaching (with a science focus-so he and I can enjoy watching Mythbusters and Discovery Channel together). With the limited pay that unfortunately goes with their careers, they have the same early life struggles that Dottie and I shared.

I was able to see their new, fixer-upper first home on this trip. Dottie had already been there helping. I contributed to the sweat equity by going back up on the ladder in 45 degree weather just like when I was putting myself through college with scraper, paintbrush and paint can. Our oldest daughter Holly, who also traveled to Providence, joined the others with getting the basement whipped into shape in the slightly warmer indoors. Their house has character that’s starting to shine and it was a great visit to see it and help a little.

From there I took the train to NYC. The Carnegie Corporation, along with Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies and the American Museum of Natural History have been working to address policy that includes how science rich organizations like science museums can assist in overcoming the critical shortfalls in student science achievement. They invited a number of educational leaders to explore the issue as recommendations are being drafted.

Train Trip to NYC

Train Trip to NYC

Taking the train was such a treat compared to the hassles of any more flying or driving. I thoroughly enjoyed the comfort and the view, including the emergence of the NYC skyline as we approached from the north.

The meeting was hosted at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) which has inspired science wonder and learning for so many-including famous scientists present and past. The awe inspiring hall that you walk into sets the stage (with many quotes from Teddy Roosevelt on the wall) to get a thrill at exploring our natural world and the potentials identified in our conversation.

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

Being part of the conversation sitting next to colleagues like Bryce Seidl who leads the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, President of AMNH Ellen Futter, and present and past Chancellors of the NYC Dept of Education Joel Klein and Rudy Crew (to name just a few of the notables) was extremely stimulating. I’m honored to represent COSI in a national leadership role by participating in these types of conversations informing national efforts as well as bringing the thinking back to what we do.

What are ways that centers like COSI can engage with schools to achieve improved science performance? I know we talked about a number in New York, but what do you think are the “sweet spots” of interaction?

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