MITS was founded in the 1980’s by seven Boston area museum directors who were concerned about the declining number of students majoring in science and engineering,and the threat this posed to America as the world leader in innovation as well as America’s economic future. By pooling together their expertise in teaching science and their institutions’ resources, the Directors realized they could provide high quality professional development opportunities for formal educators to help address these needs. They formed the Museum Institute for Teaching Science as an informal network in 1986 and incorporated the organization in 1992.
MITS programs tap the expertise of educators and scientists from research, cultural and educational organizations, and colleges and universities to model inquiry-based science, engineering and technology curriculums. To be able to successfully teach inquiry-based science, teachers need to be immersed in model programs as both “students” themselves and educators. By participating in MITS programs, teachers learn how to develop and implement an inquiry-based curriculum.
They investigate science, engineering, technology and environmental/community issues on a variety of levels based on the local expertise of educators, research and industry scientists and local policy makers. The National Academy of Sciences’ report, Rising above the Gathering Storm, states “Students learn about science, mathematics and technology first and foremost through interactions with teachers. Changing the nature of those interactions is the surest way to improve education in these subjects in the United States.” Our programs help bring about a positive change in the way science education is taught in our elementary, middle and high school classrooms by working with teachers to ensure they understand and are comfortable using inquiry-based, hands-on pedagogy.