Vanderbilt and National Grid Foundation to Unveil Mobile Science Classroom, Discovering the Universe

Traveling Classroom: Discovering the UniverseCounty, State Legislators to Speak at Inaugural Demonstration of Museum’s Unique Education Outreach Program

Wednesday, October 30 – Oldfield Middle School, Greenlawn

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will demonstrate a new mobile, science-education outreach program, Traveling Classroom: Discovering the Universe, on Wednesday, October 30, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Oldfield Middle School in Greenlawn, NY. Vanderbilt science educators will show Science Club members and their advisor, Drew Lockwood, how to explore astronomy with the Classroom’s five, hands-on, interactive stations.

The Traveling Classroom – housed in a 37-foot customized recreational vehicle – 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. The Traveling Classroom is supported by a grant from the National Grid Foundation.

Speakers will include Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum; Robert Keller, president of the National Grid Foundation; Suffolk County Legislators William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport); Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station) and Steven Stern (D-Huntington); and State Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R, I, C-East Northport).

“At a time when many institutions have to cut programs, the Vanderbilt is pleased to be able to expand its education outreach,” Reinheimer said. “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.”

“Helping children to become excited about science is one of the most critical educational priorities we have as a Nation and this stunning traveling window into the Universe will become a major resource for encouraging Long Island students to pursue careers in science,” said Bob Keller, president of the National Grid Foundation. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Vanderbilt, one of Long Island’s premier museums. With their highly skilled team of educators and a state-of-the-art planetarium, we are certain that the Vanderbilt will play an even larger role in promoting student interest in science.”

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.

Discovering the Universe is designed to meet New York State standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology (MST) and directly addresses a number of the articulated MST standards. The Classroom consists of five stations: Light, Telescope, Digital Imaging, 3-D Universe, and Gravity. Each offers hands-on interactive exhibitions that engage visitors in different topics. Moving through the exhibition effectively reflects the step-by-step process by which astronomers study the Universe.

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.

The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium has 100,000 annual visitors, which include more than 50,000 schoolchildren from more than 100 Long Island school districts.

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