Institution: Chabot Space & Science Center
Fieldtrip Speedbump Study & Chaperone Guide
Program Evaluation, Science
Fieldtrips at Chabot Space & Science Center typically include a planetarium show, a lab experience and time in the galleries. Staff observed that students did not seem to use exhibits and that in most cases, chaperones were disengaged. VisitorStudies.com was invited to study the situation and make recommendations for what became known as “speedbumps” to help chaperones and children slow down and engage with exhibits. In collaboration with Dr. Elsa Bailey, we conducted observations and follow-up interviews with teachers and chaperones. We also interviewed and/or surveyed education staff, visitor services staff and docents, and researched facilitation tools used at other institutions. Ultimately we created and tested a Chaperone Guide. Along with logistical information, the brief guide for chaperones includes a few open-ended questions to help students explore exhibits according to their own interests. Feedback from chaperones and teachers informed refinements to what they considered an already successful instrument.