The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will demonstrate a new mobile science education outreach program housed in a 37-foot recreational vehicle at Oldfield Middle School in Greenlawn on Wednesday.
The program, called the "Traveling Classroom: Discovering the Universe," will involve Vanderbilt science educators showing school Science Club members and their adviser how to explore astronomy with the classroom's five hands-on interactive stations, according to museum officials.
The Traveling Classroom is a gift to the Vanderbilt from the American Museum of Natural History, which also developed the curriculum for the successful astronomy and astrophysics program. It is supported by a grant from the National Grid Foundation.
"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," Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum, said.
The program features state-of-the-art technology, engaging professionally developed curricula, and a downloadable teacher-resource guide, Reinheimer said. Discovering the Universe will bring cutting-edge science education to students in grades 3 through 12. The program will be offered at no cost to a limited number of schools.
Pre- and post-visit materials will be provided to classroom teachers to enhance the student learning experience. The Vanderbilt will survey participating educators to measure the success of the program, museum officials said.
The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium has 100,000 annual visitors, including more than 50,000 schoolchildren from more than 100 Long Island school districts.