The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in partnership with the Farmington Public Library will provide “Fossil Fiestas”. Lineage, a National Science Foundation funded initiative to engage families in learning about evolution through media, hands-on activities and virtual reality.
Lineage: A Cross-Platform Learning Experience Exploring the History of Life on Earth
Lineage is led by Twin Cities Public Television and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and targeted to families with children 8-12 years old. It will engage individuals and families in learning about deep time and evolution, and help audiences make connections between the past, present, and future of life on Earth.
The Lineage project includes a two-hour film, When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time that follows the evolutionary history of four charismatic animals: whales, elephants, birds and crocodiles. Building on the stories in the film are six-hands on activities about whale, bird and elephant evolution, recreating ancient ecosystems and trace fossils. The activities feature the NMNH collection and engage families in co-learning about evolution, climate change, and paleontology. There is also a Virtual Reality experience, Deep Time Detectives, which is a two-person experience that transports the players to a modern-day virtual field site and a recreated ecosystem from 49 million years ago.
This project includes both a rigorous research effort, to be led by the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), and a comprehensive evaluation effort led by Rockman et al (REA). ILI will investigate the following question: How does intergenerational co-play with physical compared to virtual artifacts influence STEM learning and engagement? The research will specifically explore how different conditions support opportunities to engage with evolutionary thinking, deep time, and the kinds of science practices that could support STEM engagement more broadly. A summative evaluation will explore: whether the deliverables increase participants’ understanding of specific topics and STEM in general; feel more comfortable with STEM; come to be more interested in STEM and other STEM learning opportunities; become more motivated to learn together as family units; and whether parents feel more empowered to support their children’s learning. The evaluation will also examine the effect of video on resulting outcomes, and seek to determine impacts on ISE professionals, e.g., improved skills in designing/ facilitating co-play experiences.