Marine Organisms in Museums
“I’ve always loved museums–and I love them even more after taking a course on how museums are designed! Learning to appreciate how museums and aquariums are designed enriches every museum experience!”
~ Prof. Emma Stein
Museums and aquariums are great ways to learn more about the world around us! Have you ever thought about how museums choose how to display organisms, specimens, and information? What about how have displays changed over time? And what else can we discover about the marine organisms on display?
This course will explore how museums function now and what they looked like in the past from the perspective of their marine specimens! We’ll also learn to think critically about how museums and aquariums are designed.
Students with access to a museum/aquarium (or multiple!) with marine organisms on display (fossils count!) will be tasked with exploring those local collections and finding out more about specimens. Informational placards don’t always capture the full story of how awesome specimens are!
Students without access to a museum/aquarium with marine organisms on display will be tasked with virtually exploring a museum or aquarium and finding out more about specimens. Exploring virtually gives students an opportunity to see specimens that might not be on display!
For a list of scientific skills students will develop, see the What to Expect tab.
What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:
- Two forums—in which students are given the opportunity to reflect upon the week’s material or research a museum/specimen/aquarium.
What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:
- Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.
What to expect during the weekly webinar:
- Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
- Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
- Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.
- An activity at the end of the webinar.
Scientific skills students will develop:
- Scientific thought skills.
- Critical thinking surrounding how museums are designed.
- Scientific communication with the public.
- Researching using general Internet sources.
Before taking this course, students should be able to:
- Read at a solid 5th-grade level or above.
- Write a few sentences independently.
Students should be willing to:
- Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
- Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
- Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.
Required books & materials:
- No required books or materials.