GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 155-3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


BELLINO, Lucia, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 and NEITZKE ADAMO, Lauren, Rutgers University Geology Museum, Rutgers University, Geology Hall, 85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The JOIDES Resolution: In Search of Earth’s Secrets is a traveling exhibit that aims to generate interest in the geosciences and deep-sea drilling by providing high-quality geoscience education to the public, particularly to underserved rural and urban communities (International Ocean Discovery Program, 2019). The exhibit is part of a five-year program that will visit various museums and public libraries, like the Rutgers Geology Museum and the New Brunswick Public Library, and fosters relationships between community groups, educators, and scientists. Prior activities designed for the exhibit failed to recognize that museum visits encourage learning that is personal, contextualized, and takes time – each and every participant will be impacted by a museum trip in a different way (Rennie & Johnston, 2004). Additionally, museum learning is especially effective because of the novelty of museums and their lack of assessment (Tran, 2006).

To incorporate all aspects of museum learning, I designed a scavenger hunt for museum guests to explore and think critically about the different exhibits through open-ended questions disguised in an aesthetically-pleasing trifold-style brochure. Whereas in previous activities students only had to circle a multiple-choice answer or give a one-word response, the questions in the scavenger hunt require the visitors to engage with the exhibits and speculate. This shifts the focus to the guests’ application of the information rather than their selection of the correct answer. In order to encourage guests to see themselves as scientists, the final page of the brochure allows visitors to draw themselves in a lab coat decorated with different badges earned from answering each question. This aspect of the pamphlet promotes future careers of all guests in STEM fields by supporting representation for all guests as scientists, which is particularly important for those that are underrepresented minorities. The scavenger hunt can be easily altered and revised to fit a variety of age groups, subjects, and learning environments by tailoring the questions to the audience and topic. The activity was created in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards through exploration of Earth’s systems using models. Materials are available upon request.