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April 24th, 2005
Big collaboration links learners to science on a tiny scale
In the classroom, students learn science at the behest of teachers who follow curriculum-driven lesson plans, allowing carefully cultivated opportunities for individual exploration.
But Discovery World Museum, Milwaukee, is about "not school," or the knowledge visitors pursue on their own time, says Paul Krajniak, the museum's executive director. He says kids don't just want to learn cool science — they want to be involved in it. "When Discovery World started, everything had to be interactive," he says. "Now they want to meet the pros. They want to know what a person knows. They want to do the real thing."
One vehicle for making that connection happen is the museum's ongoing collaboration with the National Science Foundation-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), based in the College of Engineering. This partnership has enabled Discovery World to link visitors of all ages with information and experts in the cutting-edge field of nanotechnology.
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