Education

Interactive Video Conferencing Programs

Visit the Museum without a long bus trip! Experience a live, interactive Museum “field trip” over the Internet. 

Your students will interact with a Museum educator/scientist and actively participate throughout the program. When applicable, instructional materials and specimens from the Museum will be sent to your site prior to the session.

Programs are curriculum-correlated and free to North Carolina schools, with the exception of the return shipping on teaching materials used in the class. Out-of-state schools pay a $65 fee per program plus return shipping charges on materials.

Schools must have some form of video conferencing equipment to participate: a test with your site is required prior to scheduling. Programs must be scheduled a minimum of six weeks in advance.

The Museum offers several different types of interactive video conferences for you to choose from.

Smithsonian Science How?

We've partnered with the National Museum of Natural History to present Smithsonian Science How?, a series of free, interactive, 25-minute live webcasts with Museum scientists, followed by  webcasts featuring scientists from the Smithsonian. The webcasts provide students with positive STEM role models and information about science careers and pathways. Students and teachers can pose their own questions to our scientists, forging personal connections to current research.

Smithsonian Science How? Topics Live from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

March 13, 10:15am:  “Arthropod Adaptations” featuring Bill Reynolds, curator, coordinator, & containment director of the Arthropod Zoo, followed by “Inside the Insect Zoo” featuring Dan Babbitt, manager of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. 

March 27, 10:15 am:  “How to eat like a Lemur!” featuring Chris Smith, education specialist at the Duke Lemur Center. The Smithsonian’s Briana Pobiner will follow with “Early Human Diets.” 

April 10, 10:15 am:  “Exoskeletons in our Closets!” featuring Michelle Trautwein, assistant director of the Biodiversity Laboratory, Nature Research Center, followed by “Life in One Cubic Foot” with Chris Meyer, research zoologist with the National Museum of Natural History.

To view our programs visit livestream.com/naturalsciences

After the Museum’s scientists give their presentations, the program continues at 11am with the Smithsonian’s webcast at https://qrius.si.edu/jump/live-qrius-science-webcasts. This presentation will follow the same format as the Museum’s. Presentations from the Smithsonian are available to live stream into classrooms through May 2014; the full schedule and webcast archives are available at the above link.

For more information please visit http://naturalsciences.org/sciencehow or contact Tamara Poles, tamara.poles@naturalsciences.org, 919.707.9277.

Live from the Museum (Elementary School)

Live From the Museum video conferencing programs for elementary-aged students are temporarily unavailable. For more information, contact Kaytee Smith, coordinator of virtual education — elementary specialist, at 919.707.9899 or katherine.smith@naturalsciences.org.

Virtual Labs (Middle and High School)

Available in Fall 2013

Virtual Labs, also known as VLabs, are a wonderful opportunity for you to conduct experiments with a museum educator without leaving your school! If you sign up for a VLab, your class will be mailed a complete lab, tools and instruments included, and they will be able to interact with a museum educator as they simultaneously conduct experiments via live teleconferencing!  

These programs are one hour long and are free for schools in North Carolina with the exception of the return postage. Out-of-state schools pay a $65 fee per program plus return shipping charges on materials. Schools must have some form of video conferencing equipment to participate. A test with your site is required prior to scheduling.

Jurassic Pork! Dinosaurs: The Other White Meat

High School Essential Standards: 8.L.4.1, 8.L.4.2, Bio 1.1.1, Bio 1.1.3, Bio 3.1.1, Bio 3.1.2, Bio 3.3.1, Bio 3.4.1, Bio 3.5.2.

Only offered September 1-June 1

Ever wonder what dinosaurs would taste like? In this program, students will learn how to extract DNA, analyze DNA results, and compare morphologies to determine the T. rex’s closest living relative!

Interactive Video Conferencing Registration

Questions? Contact Tamara Poles, coordinator of virtual education - middle and high school specialist, at 919.707.9277 or tamara.poles@naturalsciences.org.

SMARTS Program

(Scientists Making Answers Relevant for Teachers and Students.)

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is pleased to announce the SMARTS Program, which allows students to interact with scientists and learn about their cutting-edge research. Individual programs are 30 minutes long and support the North Carolina curriculum. Programs must be scheduled at least 6 weeks ahead of time!

Earth Observation & Biodiversity Research Lab programs

Offered every Monday between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Rodent Robbers: How Thieving Rodents Help Forest Trees Regenerate 
Grade Level: 3-8   
Meet Dr. Roland Kays, and learn about his research on rodents. Rodents, like squirrels and agoutis, can cause harm to trees by eating their seeds, but they can also help by burying seeds in scattered caches.  New research has shown that these seeds don't always stay put. Surveillance cameras in the forest and small tracking devices on the seeds implicate robbing rodents in a process that actually helps the regeneration of new forests.

Activity: Prior to this program, we will send you materials so your class can observe the behavior of the wildlife at your school. Students will share their observations with Dr. Kays.

Note: this program normally uses peanuts. Please notify Tamara Poles if a student in your class has a peanut allergy.

Field Biology is an Adventure
Grade Level: 8-12
Dr. Roland Kays is a leading expert on kinkajous. Come learn how Kays went from being a rug-rat running around in the woods to a scientist climbing rainforest trees and filming for National Geographic, and what he discovered about one of the world's cutest animals in the process.

Arthropods of Our Homes and Schools
Grade Level: 6-12
Meet Dr. Michelle Trautwein and learn about her research in entomology. Biodiversity is all around us — even inside our house or classroom! A team of entomologists are exploring the diversity of arthropods in homes — learn about their discoveries regarding the many species that live with us.

Activity: Students can explore their homes, school yards or even the corners and windowsills of their classrooms to observe the diversity of arthropods that live with them. Students will also have the opportunity to explore their classrooms to find our six-legged friends and identify them using the materials from our scientists. The students can then send up to three pictures to the scientists to see if their identification was correct!

Flies! 
Grade Level: All
Flies are some of the most incredible and under-appreciated animals on the planet. Did you know we wouldn't have chocolate without flies? Learn more wonderful and fascinating facts about flies.

Activity: Students can explore their homes, school yards or even the corners and windowsills of their classrooms to observe the diversity of flies all around us. Students will also have the opportunity to explore their classrooms to find our winged friends and identify them. The students can then send up to three pictures to the scientists to see if their identification was correct! 

Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab programs

Offered every Wednesday between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Armpit and Belly Button Biodiversity
Grade Level: 3-8
Meet Dr. Julie Horvath or Dr. Julie Urban and learn about their research with belly buttons and armpits. What wildlife lives on our bodies? Fungi? Bacteria? Swab your teacher’s or principal’s armpit and belly button and see what is living inside! Send us the swabs and we will culture them on bacterial plates and the students can see some of the microbial critters that call their teacher or principal “home.”  Students will learn about the diversity of wildlife that lives on us, as well as how scientists identify and study these species. This program will require the swabs to be returned to the Museum at least a week prior to the date of the program to allow time for cultures to be grown and photographed.

Explore Armpit and Belly Button Microbes with DNA Sequencing
Grade Level: 9-10
Meet Dr. Julie Horvath or Dr. Julie Urban and learn how they use DNA sequencing to identify the wildlife that lives on our bodies. Swab your teacher’s or principal’s armpit and belly button and we will grow these bacteria in the lab and students can see some of the microbial critters that call their teacher or principal “home.”  In addition to learning about the great diversity of microbes that live in association with humans, the program will address the question of “How do scientists know what these microbes are?”  Students will learn how scientists traditionally answered this question by microbial culturing, but also, how and why we are currently using DNA sequencing for explorations of bacterial diversity. This program will require the swabs to be returned to the Museum at least a week prior to the date of the program to allow time for cultures to be grown and photographed.

Interactive Video Conferencing Registration — only offered September–June.

Questions? Contact Tamara Poles, coordinator of virtual education - middle and high school specialist, at 919.707.9277 or tamara.poles@naturalsciences.org.

Glaxo Smith Kline logo

SMARTS Program sponsored by Glaxo Smith Kline