1. Kristin Pederson
  2. STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Channel
  1. Amy Bolton
  2. Manager, Deep Time Education and Outreach
  4. National Museum of Natural History
  1. Michael Rosenfeld
  2. VP of National Productions
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television

When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time

NSF Awards: 1713142

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time is a comprehensive educational media and outreach initiative produced by Twin Cities PBS in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute. Across multiple platforms, this initiative will engage diverse audiences around deep time and evolution, and provide insight into the connections between the past, present, and future of life on Earth. The project’s main components include a two-hour film broadcast on PBS nationwide and simulcast on Smithsonian Network during primetime; a VR game which allows players to become virtual paleontologists; ongoing educational engagement at the National Museum of Natural History which includes a Family Fossil Festival on the National Mall; a national outreach initiative empowering Smithsonian Affiliate museums to integrate When Whales Walked educational resources and professional development into existing programming; and robust research and evaluation projects. 

These dynamic and connected STEM learning experiences will harness the powerful reach of public media, leverage the Smithsonian's world-class collections and programming expertise, and capitalize on the power of collaborative learning and the promise of immersive technologies. The research team for When Whales Walked will explore the strategic impacts of intergenerational co-play with physical vs virtual artifacts to inform ongoing innovation in the free choice learning space, and will share findings with the informal science learning field. Used in concert, project components will promote STEM learning and engagement, encourage scientific thinking and inquiry, and support family learning. When Whales Walked connects media-makers, thought leaders, educators, researchers and 21st century technology, to promote broad audience participation in person and across multiple platforms, and ultimately magnifies access to informal STEM learning.

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