Science centers participate in COP15

December 23rd, 2009 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured by Kate Crawford

Last week, ASTC joined 937 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15). In addition to a 200-booth exhibition, the conference featured hundreds of side events focusing on issues ranging from how climate change affects women to clean development mechanisms in developing countries.

One such event was an International Clim’Way Competition, organized by ASTC and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ASTC brought together youth and educators from the Museum of Science, Boston; Experimentarium, Copenhagen; Cap-Sciences, Bordeaux, France; and COSI, Columbus, Ohio, to share their experiences playing Clim’Way, a free online climate change game designed by Cap-Sciences.

The science center participants discussed what they learned from the game with a panel of climate science and policy experts that included Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Walter Staveloz, ASTC; Ned Gardiner, NOAA; Eric Gorman, Cap-Sciences; David Noble, 2DegreesC; Bjørn Bedsted, Danish Board of Technology; and Hans Gubbels, Ecsite Executive Committee.

Perspectives on the game and on climate change differed from site to site, but all participants agreed on one thing: finding a solution to climate change, though difficult, is a challenge we must meet.

Photo by Ned Gardiner

Fun and games at COP15

November 25th, 2009 - Posted in Featured, Partners by Kate Crawford

How can we build greener cities? What impacts do our everyday actions have on the global climate? ASTC is inviting science centers around the world to  play Clim’City, an online game that allows players to measure how energy and development choices impact society over a 50-year period. The game encourages players to explore what works and what does not when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A delegation from ASTC will travel to the upcoming 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen to organize an international competition around Clim’City, an online climate change game developed by Cap-Sciences, Bordeaux, France. ASTC is committed to supporting its members as they address issues of science and society, and COP15 will provide the opportunity to highlight such work on both a local and a global level. The event will stream live from the Bella Center in Copenhagen on December 14 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.  Central European Time.

Clim’City will shine a spotlight on teens and educators from seven science centers around the world, giving them the opportunity to share what they’ve learned about climate change and to interact with a panel of climate policy and science experts, including the Deputy Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Communications Director of Climate Program office of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the science advisors for Clim’City.

Institutions wishing to join the competition can sign up on the Clim’City web site using the format “COP15InstitutionNameTeamName.” The game is appropriate for ages 15–18, and participants are welcome to play as teams or as individuals. Email kcrawford[at] by Friday, December 11, with your login information and high scores for each team. Winners will be announced during the December 14th event in Copenhagen. More information can be found on the IGLO web site.

ASTC Connect Forum: Beyond painting science pink

November 16th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect, Annual Conference by Laura Huerta Migus

Beyond Painting Science PinkHow can museums create science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs that present solid science content in ways that engage girls’ interests and learning styles? In “Beyond Painting Science Pink: Creating Programs that Engage Girls in STEM,” an October 31 session at the ASTC Annual Conference, Christina Soontornvat of the Austin Children’s Museum, Texas, led a panel discussion on integrating research-based best practices with high-interest content to develop programs that serve girls in meaningful ways.

Panelists Jennifer Stancil of the Girls, Math & Science Partnership at Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Karen Peterson of the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Lynnwood, Washington, Dr. Lisa Regalla of Twin Cities Public Television, and Georgette Williams of the New York Hall of Science, introduced participants to a number of best practices in designing STEM experiences for girls, followed by examples of hands-on activities developed based on these practices.

The conversations started during this session are continuing in a postconference online discussion on ASTC Connect, November 16–20.  The enrollment key for the “Beyond Painting Science Pink” discussion is “stemgirls.”

About the image: Session participants try out “speed networking.” Photo by Christine Ruffo

November 9: Informal Science Education Infrastructure

November 4th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect by Wendy Pollock

It’s been called an “invisible infrastructure”—the rich diversity of places and pursuits that ignite our curiosity and support lifelong learning about science. Join John Falk of Oregon State University and other members of a CAISE Inquiry Group for a week of discussion, starting November 9, and be one of the first to try out a guide to collecting stories that will help build a portrait of the informal science education infrastructure today. To sign up go to ASTC Connect, set up an account, and use the word “informal” to join the CAISE Forum.

Passing of the baton

November 4th, 2009 - Posted in Annual Conference, Featured by Christine Ruffo

Passing the batonAfter four days of sessions, keynotes, demonstrations, and museum visits, the 2009 ASTC Annual Conference closed with the “passing of the baton” from retiring executive director Bonnie VanDorn to new CEO Bud Rock. Rock comes to ASTC from Arizona State University, where he served as vice president for global engagement. Prior to that, he had a 25-year career at the U.S. State Department that culminated with a five-year appointment as acting assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for oceans, environment, and science.

Following remarks from VanDorn and Rock, Lesley Lewis, outgoing ASTC president and CEO of the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, introduced newly elected ASTC president Nancy Stueber, president and CEO of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland.

About the image: Bonnie VanDorn “passes the baton” of leadership to Bud Rock at the closing luncheon of the 2009 ASTC Annual Conference. Photo by Christine Ruffo

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