Go back to article: Museums theme – Science vs technology in a museum’s display: changes in the Vienna Museum of Technology with a focus on permanent and temporary exhibitions and new forms of science education

II. ‘Enquiry-based learning’: a science-education project

Museums need to react on changes in society (an increasing number of children with non-German native tongue and decreasing scientific literacy), the educational system, learning environments and practices, and to such initiatives as PUSH (Public Understanding of Science and the Humanities) and SIS (Science in Society). Mere rearrangements of galleries cannot always meet such requirements. As a consequence, in 2008 a two-year project was initiated aimed at communicating science and scientific research to primary school-age children by means of ‘enquiry-based learning (‘Forschendes Lernen’). Activities organised at Technisches Museum Wien and in the participating schools introduced children to science issues related to ongoing special exhibitions and to basic physics concepts, such as electricity, magnetism, forces, kinetics, etc. A special focal point of the programmes was on improving the children’s language skills, including those of children whose first language is not German. Another project objective was to create networks between science organisations, primary schools and teacher-training facilities with the aim of developing educational programmes for concrete science-related research questions. As the project (and its intended ‘beacon’ character) represents a promising approach to museums’ educational programmes, it will be dealt with in more detail here. The project was launched in cooperation with an external organisation (Verein Science Center Netzwerk, 2010).

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/170810/006