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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Museum Integrates Exhibits w/ School Curriculums to Take Education Further

The Science Museum of Minnesota's Engineering Explorations program,  is an educational program designed to access the museum's exisiting engineering exhibits to enhance students understanding of the engineering concepts they are learning in school.

Sponsored by refining and chemicals company, Flint Hills Resources, this program is a great example of how businesses and museums can work together to give students relevent, real-world educational experiences. Helping kids put science and math into context can get them excited about working in these fields and inspire them to focus on their education and take it seriously. Here's a press release on the project:

Flint Hills Resources and the Science Museum of Minnesota partner
to engage students in engineering through hands-on learning

Hastings, Minn. – Fourth and fifth grade students from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kennedy, St. John’s the Baptist, and Christa McAuliffe schools will learn how to think like engineers when they take a field trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota. Students will visit the museum on various dates in April and May (see schedule below) for Engineering Explorations, a new interactive program sponsored by Flint Hills Resources that is designed to enhance student interest in engineering and fulfill new academic standards. The program is an example of business and education working together to meet requirements set by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Minnesota schools are now required to incorporate specific engineering material into curricula to prepare students for jobs of the future. The standards are new this school year and reflect the state’s commitment to educate students about the modern scientific world. Engineering Field Days help schools fulfill the standards in a way that is fun and engaging for students.

“We are thrilled and grateful that we are able to partner with Flint Hills Resources to make this initiative possible,” said Dr. Eric J. Jolly, president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. “It promises to equip a new generation with the tools to compete and innovate in a world where scientific literacy is critical to a successful workforce.”

During their trips to the museum, students from more than 30 elementary schools in the Twin Cities will learn how to combine math, science, creativity and curiosity to effectively think like engineers. While the typical museum visitor focuses on the exhibit and its significance, students will be challenged to consider how the exhibits were made, what materials were used to build them, and what problems were likely solved along the way. For example, students will observe dinosaur skeletons, learn what holds the bones together, and determine what keeps them from falling down. Students will also view live theater programs that explain why all people are engineers to some extent.

Engineering Field Days are designed to help spark kids’ imaginations in science and engineering,” said Jake Reint, director of public affairs at Flint Hills Resources. “As a high-tech manufacturer that employs hundreds of engineers and skilled workers, we know how important it is to encourage young people to take an interest in science.”

Engineering Field Days schedule
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (4/24)
Kennedy (4/24 & 5/23)
St. John’s the Baptist (5/1)
Christa McAuliffe (5/25)

About the Science Museum of Minnesota
The Science Museum of Minnesota serves more than one million visitors each year with its hands-on exhibits, breathtaking giant screen films, special events, and unparalleled education programs. It is located at 120 West Kellogg Boulevard in downtown Saint Paul. For specific directions, parking information, hours, show times, and ticket information, call 651-221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.

About Flint Hills Resources
Flint Hills Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining and chemicals company. Its subsidiaries market products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, biodiesel, olefins, polymers and intermediate chemicals, as well as base oils and asphalt. The refining business operates refineries in Alaska (North Pole), Minnesota (Rosemount) and Texas (Corpus Christi), with a combined crude oil processing capacity of more than 800,000 barrels per day. The petrochemical business includes production facilities in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The renewables business operates ethanol plants in Iowa, a biodiesel plant in Texas, and has made equity investments in bioenergy companies. The asphalt business produces and markets product in the Midwest and Alaska. A subsidiary owns an interest in a lubricants base oil facility in Louisiana.
Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend in Rosemount, Minn., has a crude oil processing capacity of about 320,000 barrels per day. Pine Bend employs about 900 people full-time; an additional 200-2,000 contractors work at the refinery daily on construction and maintenance projects. More information about the company is available at www

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