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2018 marks the second consecutive year The Discovery has hosted the Algerian Youth Leadership Program. The Algerian Youth Leadership Program is an intensive, annual exchange program that gives 25 Algerian high school students an opportunity to travel to the U.S. for one month to learn about their chosen areas of study. Participants also have a chance to learn about social media, civic activism, and cultural understanding through workshops, service learning, and teambuilding. The Algerian Youth Leadership Program is managed by the U.S. State Department and coordinated by the Northern Nevada International Center in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno.
Meghan Schiedel, The Discovery’s School and Museum Programs Manager, spent a day with ten high school students who were interested in pursuing careers in education. Through engaging activities and interactive tours, Meghan shared the museum’s history with the students and taught them several hands-on learning techniques that our Educators use to engage visitors at the museum every day.
The students’ time at the museum included one-hour of workshop time, one-hour of museum exploration time and a 30-minute interview with Meghan. During the workshop, Meghan was able to teach the participants about constructivism, a student-centric learning theory that enables students to use their experiences to understand the world around them, how it connects to hands-on instruction. She led the students through various engaging, hands-on science and engineering projects that could be done with recycled or inexpensive materials. These lessons included exploring science concepts like force and motion with balloon and cup slingshots and solving the engineering challenge of making a string appear to float in midair. The students also had a chance to discuss questions that were relevant to them and the students they were designing educational experiences for.
This visit culminated in a short video for the broader group of Algerian Youth Leadership Program participants, who spent their time learning about their chosen areas of study at other organizations throughout Northern Nevada.
Overall, the Algerian Youth Leadership Program visit to The Discovery enabled students from another part of the world to develop a sense of cultural understanding while receiving practical guidance in the field of informal education. We hope that these bright and talented students take the lessons they learned here at The Discovery and use them to foster curiosity, creativity, and wonder in their communities.