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This article promotes the idea of conceptual learning in a non-structured environment. Learning outside of the classroom offers learning without constraints and promotes freethinking. This informal science education is backed by a university and museum partnership between TCU and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Two of the services offered to teachers are the museum preschool program, that focuses on 3-5 year olds self initiating exploration of the natural and physical sciences, and the Hands-On Science Facility that displays educational innovations for grades K-6. Dynamic learning and the opposite of the “do not touch” concept promotes young children's scientific learning while increasing their hands-on opportunities and their interests. A little informality is always beneficial, especially with young children. They should be encouraged to explore and investigate early and on their own. By the time they have approached schooling age, they will have developed their own curiousity and introduction to problem-solving abilities which makes for great scientists in the classroom.
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I agree! Students should be encouraged to explore and investigate early on and I think it is important to continue fostering that curiosity as students get older. Allowing students to explore in a non-structured way is important to do first. I think it is important to foster explorations that allow students to clear up any misconceptions that they might have. Exploration fosters problem-solving abilities for both younger and older students.
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Mnay musuems offer education resources for teachers. Some have free distance learning opportunities for students; others charge widely varying fees. I have used many in my classroom in all phases of our explorations, as my class really can't take field trips. Start with your local musuems and see is on their website and what else they offer.
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