The Learning Community Model that is embraced by the Journey through the Universe program. The Model recognizes that there are multiple modalities and venues for student learning across a community.
Formal education takes place in the classroom, and affords us the opportunity to send in a National Team of researchers—gifted as storytellers—to provide thousands of students across an entire school district a remarkable window on research on the frontiers of human understanding. Formal education programming also includes professional development for teachers of science (and pre-service educators) on lessons in the Earth and space sciences that are relevant to the curriculum, and that provide students immersive opportunities for inquiry-based learning—which to a scientist is another name for immersion in the process scientific inquiry.
Venues for informal education are typically plentiful in a community, such as museums and science centers, field trips sites—even the home. The corresponding experiences are diverse, from exhibitions to public and family programs, to multimedia environments on the web. These are learning opportunities that are often used by free-choice learners—family and public groups that choose to participate. But there is also significant bridging between the worlds of informal and formal education, e.g., school field trips, teacher-directed activities to be done at home, and after-school programs. Journey through the Universe is capable of delivering programming in and tailored for all these informal venues—because we recognize that education in a community takes place everywhere.