During the last week of June, the Sternberg Museum hosted Kansas middle school and high school science teachers for a STEM teacher workshop. This endeavor was part of one of the National Science Foundation grants to the Sternberg Museum to improve the quality of and access to the Museum’s paleontology collection data. The theme of the workshop was “Museum Data in the Classroom”. The paleontology department has been working hard for the past two years transcribing and improving fossil data, taking pictures of fossils, and putting these data into a database. This workshop gave us an opportunity to show science teachers how these data can be used in their classrooms.
Ten teachers from around the state worked together to develop classroom activities that incorporate data, images, and 3d scans of Sternberg Museum fossils. After trial runs in classrooms, followed by revisions, these activities will be available to other educators via the Sternberg Museum website and other K-12 educational websites. Other highlights of the week included exhibit tours as an introduction to Kansas paleontology, behind-the-scenes collection tours, and a visit by the FHSU MakerVan (a mobile MakerSpace that can be fitted with 3D printers or other educational support materials that can drive to schools around the region). Workshop participants also enjoyed exploring trails, breweries, and restaurants in Hays!