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Written by: Krystal Davis
Wednesday July 29, 2015

The Research & Collections division at VMNH recently hosted approximately 160 students from the Lynchburg College Summer Residential Governor's School Program in Mathematics, Science, and Technology.  The Summer Residential Governor's School at Lynchburg College is part of the State of Virginia's broader Governor's School programs.  Governor's Schools give gifted students academic and visual and performing arts opportunities beyond those normally available in the students' home schools. Students are able to focus on a specific area of intellectual or artistic strength and interest and to study in a way that best suits the gifted learner's needs.

Students arrive at VMNH for their annual visit.

Students arrive at VMNH for their annual visit.  Photo by N. Moncrief.

Each program stresses non-traditional teaching and learning techniques. For example, small-group instruction, hands-on-experiences, research, field studies, or realistic or artistic productions are major elements in the instructional design at all schools.  Students become scientists, writers, artists, and performers as they work with professional mentors and instructors. Every effort is made to tailor learning to needs of the community of learners that comprise the program.

Students explore the exhibits at VMNH.

For several years, VMNH has offered a full day of instruction with educational programs designed by Research & Collections curators and staff to engage the students in hands-on learning regarding the significance of natural history.  Programs presented during their recent visit included “Analysis of Evidence for Climate Change in Virginia” presented by Dr. Nancy Moncrief, “Food from the Past” presented by Dr. Elizabeth Moore, “Examining the Effects of Different Urban Land Uses on Local Pollinator Diversity” presented by Dr. Kal Ivanov, “Role of Giant Sharks as Apex Predators in Virginia's Ancient Seas” presented by Dr. Alex Hastings, and  “Reproducing Museum Specimens to Facilitate the Dissemination of Knowledge” presented by Ray Vodden.  Students were also able to participate in a scavenger hunt through the museum’s exhibits.

Students explore exhibits at VMNH.

The curators and staff thoroughly enjoyed the visit by this year’s group.  We are already looking forward to and planning for 2016.  Special thanks to Dr. Danny Cline and Ms. Carol Martin for allowing us to interact with some of the brightest young men and women from across the Commonwealth.

Tags: Governors School, Krystal Davis, Research and Collections