New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) wants to improve the Science Career Ladder program (SCL), which recruits and trains high school students to become Explainers, who then interact with museum visitors by answering science questions prompted by exhibits.
Explainers are trained in methods of inquiry, science content, the scientific method, and how to communicate with the public. They advance through the program based on criteria that certify them in different skill categories. They also receive college and career readiness services that foster interest in STEM careers. An evaluation found that current Explainer training did not encourage original and critical thinking and that the hands-on science demonstrations did not create opportunities for authentic investigation and discovery. NYSCI will hire consultants with expertise in inquiry and design-based activities to develop curricula for SCL. Staff and Explainers will participate in a week-long summer inquiry institute that will introduce them to the theory and practice of inquiry and design-based activities. NYSCI will also revamp the promotion process and have benchmarks more in line with 21st-century skills.