DEADLINE: January 15, 2012
AMNH “Adventures in Science”:
Virtual Worlds Middle School Institutes
The American Museum of Natural History is seeking a digital technology partner who can customize a 3-D world-building platform and 3-D digital modeling tool, as well as support the development, implementation and evaluation of two immersive, 2-week science institutes for middle schoolers in the summer of 2012. The programs, called “Virtual Worlds”, target students who are interested in learning science through the process of inquiry and collections research at the AMNH, and who are excited about using digital technology to synthesize and expand upon their science content and process learning.
Prior Virtual Worlds Institute at AMNH
Last year, the AMNH led a Virtual Worlds: Cretaceous Seas Institute, in which middle school students collected and examined fossils of extinct marine life, toured museum collections and interviewed scientists to make inferences about how an extinct Late Cretaceous animal, such as a Mosasaur, might have looked and behaved. Students then used the 3-D modeling software, Sculptris http://www.pixologic.com/sculptris, to bring their inferences to life and placed their extinct animals in a customized, photo-realistic Late Cretaceous environment designed according to AMNH specifications using the 3D virtual world platform Blue Mars http://www.bluemars.com. Please follow the link below to watch a video about last summer’s exciting institute:
Upcoming Virtual Worlds Institutes at AMNH
Next summer, we plan to offer the Cretaceous Seas institute again, using an improved version of the virtual world. In addition, we plan to offer a new 2-week program called “Virtual Worlds: What happened to the Neanderthals?” During this new 2012 institute, students will have the opportunity to reconstruct and visualize Neanderthal extinction theories by recreating the first interactions between Neanderthals and modern humans in Ice Age Europe approximately 50,000 years ago. Using the AMNH’s world-renowned fossil collections and scientific resources, students will work in the Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins to reconstruct the events that may have led to the extinction of Neanderthals and the predominance of modern humans as the only hominid left on earth.
In order to reconstruct and visualize prevailing extinction theories, students will digitally compare facial and skeletal structures of Neanderthals and modern humans to determine how different they really looked from one another, and incorporate cultural and technological capabilities of each. Students will then place the reconstructed hominids in the ancient environment in which these species coexisted, and may have even interbred, before the Neanderthal’s ultimate demise. Students will visualize that ancient world through an engaging and accessible 3-D world-building tool.
AMNH seeks a partner with the following criteria:
•Technical familiarity with game making, world building, and visualization platforms.
•A proven track record of successful creation of an educational model(s), preferably with middle school students, using one of the above platforms, or a similar 2-D or 3-D platform. The model could have been used to teach any academic content, but would preferably have been used to teach science content.
•Comprises a team consisting of programmer(s), designer(s), and educator(s) with experience working in an educational setting (e.g., a school, museum, after-school program), using game design to teach digital literacy as well as academic content.
Responsibilities and tasks will include:
•Updating the Cretaceous Oceans virtual world to improve its visual and functional components.
•Creating a customized, constrained 3-D Ice Age environment with pre-designed assets for the new Neanderthal Institute. Assets will include an accurate ecosystem with Ice Age features, fauna, cave dwellings, cultural artifacts, and hominid behaviors.
•Developing the capability for students to reconstruct the skeletal structures of Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens, as well as flesh out the facial characteristics of each.
•Writing a final report on the two Virtual Worlds programs, including recommendations and best practices that evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement.
The deadline for submitting proposals is January 15, 2012. Planning for the institute will begin immediately after a partner is selected. The Adventures in Science Virtual Worlds Cretaceous Seas Institute will run from August 13th – 24th 2012, and the Virtual Worlds What Happened to the Neanderthals will run from July 30th – August 10th 2012. Each institute will consist of twenty 6th, 7th and 8th graders, two AMNH instructors (one responsible for scientific content and one for technology) and two AMNH teaching assistants.
The AMNH will require a written summation of recommendations from the partner by September 30, 2012.
AMNH is interested in a long-term partnership, should this pilot engagement prove successful.
Please send the following materials to:
Samara Rubinstein, Ph.D.
Manager, Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human
American Museum of Natural History
•A cover letter, detailing your digital and educational capacities, as well as your previous and current projects and partners.
•A proposal to partner with the AMNH to produce the Virtual Worlds Institutes. The proposal should include a high-level timeline, suggested approaches to the projects and recommended digital platforms.
•A budget for partner services.
•Biographical sketches of key team members on the project.
Read more http://dmlhub.net/node/6836