About Natural Discoveries
Natural Discoveries was founded by Peter A. Money, developer of nationally recognized life and earth science programs for science museums, zoos, and nature centers across the country. Mr. $ has served as Education Director at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Director of Education and Interpretation at the Virginia Living Museum and, most recently, as Director of Science Education at Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History. With over 30 years experience, Mr. $ has taught thousands of students and teachers from kindergarten through college, creating programs that combine serious science content with hands-on, minds-on learning and a lot of fun! As both scientist and educator, Mr. $ brings a unique perspective to classroom teaching and has earned a reputation as a one-of-a-kind science educator. Now, he brings his talents to your classroom!
Our Recipe for Teaching Science
At Natural Discoveries, our goal for science education is simple: to help people develop a greater respect for and understanding of the natural world – and our place in it. We achieve this goal with creative programs designed to “turn on” children and adults to the world around us. Our recipe for science education includes these key ingredients:
Science is hands-on! From butterfly mounts to dinosaur bones, an extensive array of museum-quality specimens are used in our education programs and they prove extremely effective for hands-on teaching. Students learn as they handle skulls and skeletons, gems and crystals, fossils, mounts and more. These are the tools of science – designed to stimulate excitement in our next generation of scientists.
Science is thinking! Students are not told all the answers. Instead, answers are deduced through observation, manipulation, and guided discussions that employ an inquiry-based approach to learning while stressing critical thinking skills. Answers and further discussion emerge out of curiosity. Students compare the crushing strength of different shapes to determine why bones are round. Through our videomicroscope, students discover the secrets of sharkskin, pollen grains, and other micro-mysteries.
Science is doing! We use our hands-on materials to get students involved in doing science as part of simple experiments and classroom demonstrations. Students listen to their heart beat to compare it with hibernating animals, drip water onto feathers and fur to discover nature’s waterproofing, or measure tracks to determine the size of a dinosaur that roamed the land 200 million years ago.
Science is applied! It is critically important that students understand science is not a collection of isolated facts, but a real part of our everyday lives. This important tenet is integrated into every program we present. Earth science students discover minerals are found in such household items as toasters, eye shadow, and pencils. Life science students learn that plants and animals are helping scientists explore other planets, discover gold in remote areas, and find cures for osteoporosis, cancer, and other human diseases.
Science is fun! Creating a successful blend of education and enjoyment is vastly more difficult than simply lecturing or entertaining an audience. Such a balance requires creative, non- traditional thinking about science teaching and learning. Students turn on our time machine to travel back to New England’s prehistoric past. Students learn skeletal adaptations by becoming animals themselves and participating in snake races and frog jumping contests.
Science is alive! We use live animals such as frogs, turtles, crabs, and more as part of our educational programs. We cannot overemphasize the power of living animals to capture interest, pique curiosity, and stimulate imagination in students. As integral parts of science teaching, these animals help students understand the role of biodiversity in ecosystems, as well as helping students gain a respect for the life with which we share this planet.