Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education: “My Place by the Bay” — Prepared Environments for Early Science Learning

September 15th, 2002 - August 31st, 2007 | PROJECT

The Bay Area Discovery Museum will expand their "My Place by the Bay" theme with new programmatic elements that "reinforce the theme that people, plants and animals live together and depend upon each other to survive." Three new activity areas will be developed that focus on science learning: A) an outdoor "Tot Lot" for early science learners; B) an outdoor "Discovery Cove" focusing on place-specific elements of their bayshore site; and C) an indoor recreated "Research Vessel" outfitted with a simulated navigaion station and marine biology laboratory. The learning goals for these three areas are: 1) "The Bay environment is home to many living things"; and 2) "I can do science to explore and learn about my world". The "Tot Lot," built into a hill, will be a one-half acre, multi-sensory, outdoor, prepared environment for children under five to learn about animals living in three distinct Bay habitats: woodland, stream and meadow. The "Discovery Cove" will be a two-acre area prepared environment for children up to age eight. Learners will be encouraged to see the bay as an integrated system that includes animal adaptations, ecological relationships and human activity. The "Research Vessel" is inspired by the R/V Questuary and is the place where visitors will use authentic tools to do science. Other features of this project include an integrated system of Parenting Messages that includes special signage for parents and a Families Ask Guide for families with children ages seven and under that is a joint effort of DABM, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Golden Gate National Parks Association. They will also develop a series of teacher workshops that will link this informal learning space with the needs of formal education. One specific school group with whom they will work is the Junipero Serra, an NSF Urban Systemic Intiative site.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Lookout Cove Outdoor Exhibit

Team Members

Janet Petitpas, Principal Investigator, Bay Area Discovery Museum
Alissa Arp, Co-Principal Investigator
Robin Moore, Co-Principal Investigator
Catherine Eberbach, Co-Principal Investigator, Bay Area Discovery Museum


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0125740
Funding Amount: 1479751


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops