Editor's Note: This article is derived from
Explorit's quarterley Science Centered Newsletter.
A Look in the Mailbag
At Explorit we collect all sorts of quantitative information to measure how we are doing in terms of attendance, geographic reach and number of educational programs delivered.
How many field trip groups did we host last school year? 214
What was largest one-day attendance in 2004-05? 400 (on February 26)
How many students were reached through our classroom programs in 2004-05? 19,528
We use this information to help us determine what programs are popular, where we have potential to expand, and how we should be distributing our marketing materials.
We also compare numbers year to year to identify trends. But the numbers can’t reveal the true impact that we’ve had on the hearts and minds of the thousands of curious children we meet each year. It’s the qualitative feedback that really means the most in many ways. It’s always a special occasion when we open our mailbox to see a stack of handmade “thank you” cards or a collage poster signed by a class of kindergartners.
Not only do these thoughtful notes show us that the children have had time to reflect on their learning, but it also gives a boost to our educational staff by bringing smiles to their faces and reinforcing their commitment “to involve people in science experiences that touch our lives.”
From: Kindergartners at Foxboro Elementary, Vacaville
To: Bob Tyzzer
“These large thank you cards [one of which is pictured with Bob here] came from a couple of classes of kindergartners. They came to Explorit two days in a row to do Insect Safaris. It was quite a surprise to come into my office the next day to see the cards draped over my desk and chair. I was also impressed with how quickly they came. They’re shaped like really cool bugs – a millipede and an ant. I haven’t seen any other educators with anything bigger, so that makes me feel good.” – Bob Tyzzer
From: Germaine, Davis
To: Dave Roser
“Germaine, age five, visits the museum almost on a weekly basis and often she will make something or draw a picture that she gives me when she leaves the museum. Her pictures make me feel great! Helping to influence children’s lives in positive ways and to make their visits to Explorit memorable to them are why I enjoy by job so much here at Explorit.” – Dave Roser
From: First grader at Westmore Oaks Elementary, West Sacramento
To: Kristin Sizemore
“This group came to the “Act Naturally: You and Your Environment” exhibition and happened to be one of the first groups that I had the chance to present a Discovery Lesson to. One activity that was popular during this exhibit was the watershed model. While this activity was definitely a fun one for the kids, it could sometimes get messy and its message might get missed if kids were not given some guidance while trying it out. I gathered the group together around the activity to give a little demonstration and asked them what kinds of pollution were represented by the colored water and where the pollution might go when it is released into the environment. As this was my first day presenting a Discovery Lesson, I am particularly pleased that what may have seemed to me like senseless babbling brought on by nerves was actually coherent. I am to happy to know that the questions I asked and the information I gave was received and the kids can now take that information and apply it to their lives.” – Kristin Sizemore
From: Third grader at St. Mary’s Elementary, Sacramento
To: Tabatha Bruce
“The class was very engaged and enthusiastic. The teacher was fantastic and she modeled that enthusiasm. I remember they all enjoyed the gas tubes and the measuring tape timeline. I was asked many, many questions in that class.
“The notes are fun to receive. They are unexpected bits of joy. I don’t think the teachers censor or correct what they wrote, so you get their honest impressions. It also shows that they had a chance to reflect on the experience at another point in their day. I think that helps cement our educational programs. The notes do feel good, but even in the absence of notes I see kids react, engage, think, enjoy and wonder during the program. Even though I’ve handled fossils, rocks, fur and microscopes hundreds, if not thousands of times, we provide firsts for many children. That refreshes my dedication to Explorit’s mission statement.” – Tabatha Bruce
From: Fourth grader at Robla Elementary, Sacramento
To: Jonathan Bell
“Robla Elementary has always been one of my favorite sites to visit. This was the first book of notes I’d received since working at Explorit. I was really surprised and it improved my whole week. Notes like these are one of my favorite aspects of my job. They are a great and important reminder of why I come to work each day.” – Jonathan Bell
From: An after-school class at Beamer Elementary, Woodland
To: Izzy Zallo
“I remember students were very excited to learn about science. It was an after-school group so they were very ‘high energy.’ All students were actively involved in all stations. Lots of questions were generated from this group. I remember students mentioning that they didn't know that so many household items were made up of machines. The lever for lifting a person was a big hit. I remember choosing a small little girl to be my volunteer from that activity and the rest of the class was unanimously stating that she would not be able to lift me. When she did, many students were surprised since she was about 1/4 of my size. The girl was beaming a huge smile!” – Izzy Zallo
From: A student at Burchfield Primary, Colusa
To: Megan Chiosso
“[The Science in Your World program that I delivered to this school] had an amazing turnout. After the event I remember having a very positive feeling, one of excitement for the school and families. The PTA president told me the school has had trouble with attracting big crowds, so ‘it was wonderful to see so many people.’ Other people commented ‘This is great.’ ‘It’s nice to see science in the schools.’ ‘Our kids are hungry for science.’ ‘There are so many people here!’ and ‘The turnout was amazing.’ It was wonderful to see so many, enthusiastic, excited people, including the 30+ volunteers.
“I love receiving these notes! It makes me feel so good to know that students and their families might have a moment like, ‘Remember that time Explorit did a science night at our school?’ It makes me feel especially good when I get feedback from schools. It warms my heart and I smile when I think about how an Explorit event has created a memorable experience upon which children and adults can build.” – Megan Chiosso
Send feedback to
Explorit Science Center
P.O. Box 1288, Davis, CA 95617, USA
Phone: (530)756-0191 Fax: (530)756-1227