Category Archives: Dinsaurs

Teaching Through Museums and Zoos

Part One: Life Long Learning via Professional Development

Learning is life long journey which is why the parent or teacher gains more than the child when teaching. However, not everyone is interested in learning. The ancient Hebrew book of Proverbs calls this person a fool. Because the world if full of them, many professions and government agencies have set up requirements for their people to prove that they are still learning through professional development classes. If nothing else, it generates income through jobs to write curriculum, tests, and conduct the professional development trainings.

What I learned about professional development training over the years is that some of it is an insulting waste of time and some of it the best invigorating use of it. For example, when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, some of the speakers or trainers brought in were fantastic! I learned how to manage my own financial portfolio and nurture my emotional intelligence. But others were fodder for Dilbert comics.

The sales managers or corporate trainers were responsible for choosing the content and speakers of these growth opportunities. The educational world differs in that one selects on their own what to choose as long as they complete so many hours in a given time period in order to maintain the respective certifications.

I’ve held state teachers certification in Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and West Virginia over the past 25+ years. I taught in the public classroom in two of these states of which Maryland was the longest in Montgomery County.

In that Northwest quadrant of the Washington, D.C. Beltway, public school instructors had the option of completing their professional development by paying exorbitant university tuition to work up to the next level of initials with sheep skins to hang in their wall. Or they could take outside classes from organizations like NASA, NOAA, and fantastic foundations who offered university credit with completion of a project at the end.

Initially, I pursued the advanced degree, but it was monotonous, expensive, and dull in comparison to the exciting material that was covered in the latter. Many of these classes included fabulous experiences in the real world or in well funded museums. Which brings me to

Part 2: How Museums Teach as a Multi-Media Venue

In order to instruct a person one must first gain their prospective learner’s attention. After securing it, they need to engage it long enough for the objective to be accomplished. Some choose to use deceptive tricks and techniques to manipulate people, others respectfully use other means to try to influence. It is of interest that both may use art in order to accomplish these means.

Artists and their work span a spectrum of variety and differences. When done well it can serve as the enticing sweet icing on the cake to persuade, or if it’s not, it can boomerang as a “red flag” by revealing a lie rather than truth is being spread. Several visits to museums and zoos come to mind as I contemplate further.

The first is when I ran around Zoo Miami in the early 2010’s playing the Flat Panda game with the Smithsonian National Zoo many years ago. This Dinosaur Exhibit is now showing at the

At this time my daughter was of the perfect elementary age for playing I Spy when spotting one of these very interesting models of dinosaurs scattered throughout when we visited Zoo Miami regularly as Family Members and for my author signing for Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo . We were impressed and loved the exhibit.

Zoo Miami Author Signing for Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo

However, 7+ years later, we weren’t as impressed with similar models visiting West Palm Beach until the end of April 2023.

The systematic spots on the white fur of this dinosaur screams, “Fake, computerized, not real!” Even the model snow leopards that I use to illustrate one of the predators of red pandas looks more realistic.

Then when one looks at the skull of the Tyrannosaurus Rex it clearly is NOT a fossil. It is a just a modeled cast.

I asked my daughter what she thought. Since she attends rock shows and has visited where Tom showed recent fossil finds that had recently been excavated, she knows what a real is. While she enjoyed these dinosaurs to look at for entertainment, she questions the validity of the information.

Then one of her favorite destinations is but due to the similar quality to the dinosaur exhibit she was not as impressed with the What do you think?

Does the quality of the art displaying the item in museums sway you to believe what the panel says or to question if its real?

#Dinosaurs #ZooMiami #CoxScienceMuseum #ProfessionalDevelopment