Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Hiroyuki Arita-Kikutani, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan
Science museums are popular places for children and families to be intimate toward science and learn on their own preferences. Recently, science museums are also required to play the social roles of contributing to fostering science literacy and raising the degree of maturity of science culture. It is important for science museums to show new values and ideas as well as research results based on historical systems referring to the latest findings and trends of science and technology. Therefore, science museums should make constructive efforts not only conveying knowledge of basic science but also presenting the process of on-going research to enhance public science literacy, which is vital for people to properly respond to the problems concerning science and technology they face in social life. The goal of this study is to develop educational programs to promote public understanding of research by introducing latest research activities at science museums. The pilot program consisted of the following two parts: (1) lecture by researcher: Introducing latest research activity at National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo (NMNS) by utilizing modern digital technology to show that modern digital technology can be a powerful tool for research activity at science museums and, (2) hands-on activity: Participants (six families) made small 3-D printing models of specimens by using 3-D digital data generated from a specimen of NMNS by X-ray CT scanning. In this study, educational programs were developed based on the framework of fostering science literacy published by NMNS (2010) and the effectiveness of the programs was measured based on it. Positive changes were observed in the constructs ” Have an interest in people involved in the field of science” and “Understand that scientific research has been changed by technology”. These results seem to indicate that this program enhanced the participant’s interests in science and research activities at science museums. Based on these results, we will apply the further improvement to these programs so that they become universally usable in the other science museums and implement improved program to investigate the further effectiveness of the programs to promote public understanding of research at science museum settings.