Peabody Fellows Event-Based Collaborative
two teachers discussing curriculum
Notes on board and chart paper
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Peabody Fellows Event-Based Collaborative

Project and Goals


The Yale Peabody Museum received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2009 to pilot an innovative new model for teacher professional development – the Peabody Fellows Event-Based Collaborative. With the Collaborative, we introduce a model where teachers work closely with museum educators to (1) retrofit their chosen or state-mandated curricula into a local, event-based context and (2) build the lessons around lendable specimens and other objects that support an experience-based education and greatly enrich the student learning environment. This process mirrors the growing partnership between schools and museums as both seek to support the educational needs of students.


The goals of the Collaborative include:

  • promote stronger relationships between formal and informal education institutions
  • increase teacher capacity to maximize museum resources, utilizing inquiry- and event-based strategies
  • increase student learning in the sciences and social studies
  • develop a community of learning among teachers
  • develop a model for collaborative curriculum development that can be adopted by other informal education institutions

Year 1 involved an intensive, week-long curriculum development summer institute for middle and high school science teachers, followed by field-testing and refinement of the units. Year 2 includes implementation of the collaboratively-designed science curriculum resources in participating teachers’ classrooms, as well as another week-long summer institute for a second cohort of teachers concentrating on social studies topics at the elementary and middle school levels.


Click here for science curriculum units and supporting documents.

Click here for social studies units and supporting documents. (coming soon)


Program Strategies


The Collaborative promotes four teaching strategies that make the program attractive to both formal and informal educators. These four strategies center on (1) standards; (2) cutting edge content; (3) objects and inquiry-based pedagogy; and (4) event-based science pedagogy.


Standards: The Museum works with teachers to enhance and adapt existing ‘standards focused’ curricula in a maximally content rich setting that will encourage students to think about concepts that may, at first glance, seem remote from their lives.


Cutting edge content: Teachers bring existing materials from within broad content areas in science and social studies. The Museum has access to an extensive network of faculty and other staff who can work with teachers to incorporate the latest research into their lessons. All university museums, and others that have a close relationship with their local university, have the potential to facilitate such a partnership between scholars and teachers.


Object and Inquiry-Based Pedagogy: Objects support and encourage an interdisciplinary, constructivist and experience-based education and greatly enrich the student learning environment. As well, hands-on learning that is experiential or activity-based captures the concept of student involvement and self-motivated investigation embedded in inquiry-based teaching.


Event-Based Science (EBS) Pedagogy: Dr. Russell Wright, director of the Event-Based Science Institute in Bethesda and author of the EBS series, has worked with the Museum since 2004, providing summer institute sessions based on EBS methods. EBS places the study of science in a context where students observe how science functions in everyday life. Differing dramatically from traditional textbook methods, EBS begins with news footage of an actual event – applying “real-life” situations to content engages students more effectively. Based on the event, a problem is then posed whose solution requires students to learn relevant concepts and collaborative to accomplish the task at hand. In the process, students develop skills for problem analysis, asking critical questions, explaining events, and developing a final product that involves applications of scientific principles they have just encountered. The Museum is piloting an extension of this model to social studies curriculum development during year 2 of the program.


Contact Information

Fax: (203) 432-9816


Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

P.O. Box 208118

New Haven, CT 06520-8118