A Description
of Inquiry


Are Eligible?

How to Apply



Faculty at the Institute for Inquiry

Marilyn Austin, Teacher-in-Residence

Marilyn Austin joined the Institute for Inquiry staff after twenty-six years of teaching elementary school. She collaborates on programs and workshops with IFI Teaching staff and serves as a liaison between Marin County school districts and the Exploratorium. Through her involvement with the Marin Community Foundation, she leads Exploratorium technical assistance in Marin County elementary schools. She also facilitates an Exploratorium teacher research group, which is a group of local teachers interested in increasing their knowledge about an inquiry-based classroom.

Bronwyn Bevan, Assistant Director
Exploratorium Center for Teaching and Learning

Bronwyn Bevan is the Associate Director of the Exploratorium Center for Learning and Teaching. Her projects include Director of the NSF-funded CLT, Center for Informal Learning and Schools; co-PI on the LIGO Educational Outreach project; co-PI on the Coalition for Science After School project; and leader of the CILS Informal Learning Certificate professional development program for museum educators. Her main area of interest is supporting teacher practice, student learning, and curricular design through the development of relationships between formal and nonformal institutions. Bevan worked for EDC for four years where she conducted classroom-based research on teacher-artist partnerships, as well as institutional development between schools and cultural institutions.

Barry Kluger-Bell, Assistant Director for Science at the Institute for Inquiry

Barry holds a Ph.D. in physics. Barry became involved with inquiry-based education in 1971 when he worked as a research educator with David Hawkins at the Mountain View Center in Boulder, Colorado. He is the author of The Exploratorium Guide to Scale and Structure: Activities for the Elementary Classroom, published in 1995 by Heinemann Press. More recently, Barry provided technical assistance to WGBH¹s Investigating Classrooms video project and is on the advisory board for WNET¹s Learning Science Through Inquiry workshops. He also served on an advisory panel for CPB/Annenberg¹s video project for teaching science content to teachers.

Liz Cruger, Program Coordinator

Liz creates and maintains all administrative systems for the Institute. She handles all workshop and program logistics, and is the primary contact for program participants, locally and nationally. Liz has worn a variety of hats within the museum world. From spending the night next to dinosaur bones to dissecting cow eyeballs, her days have been varied and interesting. In Chicago, Liz worked at The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, and as an actress (singing about science) at many museums and schools.



Pat Koblenz, Program Manager

Pat guides the implementation of the Institute programming, and works with school districts and science reform projects to match participants with Institute for Inquiry workshops. Pat has over ten years experience as a bilingual elementary educator and four years in museum education. Prior to joining the Institute she served as the Director of Education at Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education which connects school groups, families and individuals to the natural world through programs and exhibitions.



Alicia LaValle, Materials Coordinator

Alicia manages materials for Institute for Inquiry workshops, and customizes follow-up services. She has found inquisitiveness essential to all the work she has done, which among other things has included; park ranger, architectural photographer, environmental educator, and web designer. She also works as a restoration intern for the Presidio juggling her time between the prolific possibilities of Exploratorium materials and the native habitat restoration efforts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.



Mike Petrich and Karen Wilkinson,
Science Educator

Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich are Science Educators for the Institute For Inquiry and project directors for a several NSF and NEA funded science, art, and technology programs at the Exploratorium. They draw on more than ten years of working as a team, integrating science and art and technology curriculum for in-school, and out-of-school learning environments. Of particular interest to them is the functional design of informal learning environments to foster creative thinking, and inquiry learning.

Lynn Rankin, Director of the Institute for Inquiry

Lynn began her teaching career as an elementary teacher in the San Francisco Public Schools. She got captivated by "hands-on science" when she brought her 6th grade class to a course at the Exploratorium and observed the kind of curiosity and enthusiasm for learning she had been trying to cultivate in her classroom. She joined the Exploratorium staff in 1975. Since then she has developed science and professional development curriculum, led workshops for students, teachers and professional developers and been involved in program design. She helped found and served on the faculty of the Association of Science and Technology Centers' Professional Development Institutes for museum educators. She serves on the faculty of the Center for Informal Learning and Schools, a collaboration between the Exploratorium, Kings College and the University of California at Santa Cruz. She served on the Committee on the Development of an Addendum to the National Science Education Standards on Scientific Inquiry and the National Institute for Science Education's Committee on Professional Development.

Fred Stein, Science Educator

Fred was the Education Director at the Science Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts, before joining the Institute for Inquiry staff. In addition to teaching biology and math, he has developed curricula, taught distance learning courses, and led professional development inquiry workshops. He is currently completing a doctoral thesis at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.



Buff Whitman-Bradley,
Curriculum Development Editor

Buff is responsible for turning IFI workshops into written curriculum and Web pages for the IFI Web site. Before joining IFI, Buff taught kindergarten for nine years and prior to that was a professional writer and editor. He is the author of two nonfiction books for children, the former editor of Learning and Family Learning magazines, and a former columnist for Parenting magazine.


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Last update: June 13, 2003