What is Thinkery Connect?
Thinkery Connect is a museum-university-community research partnership between Thinkery and The Center for Applied Cognitive Science at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Psychology. The objective of this partnership is to translate best practices from learning sciences into museum operations. Our educational philosophy is grounded in play-based, inquiry-rich learning experiences.
We design exhibits and curated educational resources that encourage visitors to develop STEAM “Habits of Mind” such as critical thinking, systematic exploration, resolute behavior, hypothesis-testing, experimentation, and trouble-shooting. These process skills are critical to early STEAM learning as well as to school readiness more generally.
Focusing on STEAM Habits of Mind that support school readiness skills can help communities better prepare children for school and set the foundation for lifelong learning.
Thanks to generous funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), we have constructed Thinkery Connect Headquarters (HQ) which allows us to 1) conduct research on caregiver and child interaction and learning, 2) evaluate visitor experience, 3) prototype exhibit design features and modifications, and 4) collaborate with community partners throughout the city and the state to support early childhood education and development.
Meet The Team
Dr. Cristine Legare
Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
Cristine Legare is a professor of psychology and the director of the Center for Applied Cognitive Science at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research and training reflect her commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of child development and learning.
As an undergraduate, she took coursework from a variety of social science disciplines, double majoring in human development and cultural studies at the University of California, San Diego. In graduate school, she participated in the Culture and Cognition Program while completing her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of Michigan.
Cristine has published more than 80 research articles on topics in cognitive and educational sciences. Her research has been covered by a range of media outlets, including NPR, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American.
VP of Educational Programs, Thinkery
JJ Leissing is a passionate STEAM educator who has spent her career working in nonprofits and informal learning institutions. As Chief Programs Officer at Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena, CA, JJ worked to build and expand local partnerships throughout the Los Angeles and Pasadena communities.
Prior to that, she worked at the Orlando Science Center as the Director of Visitor Experience. More recently, she was the Director of Education Engagement at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. JJ holds a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS Grant Number MA-10-19-0438-19.
The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations on this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services