STEPS: Where the Drama of Science Meets the Science of Drama

July 31st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

By Brad McLain
From Dimensions
July/August 2014

“Once language was available to describe social scenarios from memory and anticipations, we became Homo narratus. We have become psychological beings who are incapable of not narrating our experiences both to ourselves and each other.” —Alan Parry, 1997

People are natural storytellers. We are also natural story hearers. Narrative (story) is the preferred way humans structure complex knowledge. It’s also the oldest way we share both cultural and personal information. We are still addicted to narrative—think of blogs, books, TV, radio, movies, theater, and even video games. Yet curiously, education underuses narrative—a missed opportunity at best and a gross misconstruction of our educational systems at worst.

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Science Museums Evolve: Are We Preparing?

July 31st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

Position descriptions posted on ASTC’s job bank offer glimpses into the most valued qualifications for professionals in our science center and museum community. The needs of our member institutions are constantly evolving in response to increasingly diverse audiences, more challenging science topics, and new research on learning strategies. To succeed, we depend upon professionals who have the skills to respond to these changes.
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Q&A with Ari Daniel: Telling Science Stories on the Airwaves

June 26th, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Dimensions magazine.

Strange noises in a Connecticut backyard, love affairs between tiny copepods, and chemicals that exist in the clouds between stars: These are a few of the subjects that Ari Daniel has turned into fascinating science stories. Daniel has united his lifelong passions for science and storytelling through his work as a freelance radio journalist (you may have heard him on (U.S.) National Public Radio) and digital associate producer at NOVA. He also hosts the Boston chapter of the Story Collider, in which other narrators take the stage to relay their science-related tales. Here, Daniel reveals how—and why—to find and share great scientific anecdotes with the public.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast below.


Science Within Reach: Engaging the Public in Scientific Research

May 30th, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

IN THIS ISSUE
May/June 2014

What happens when the public is given the opportunity to engage meaningfully in authentic scientific research? Participants may develop a sense of ownership and a deeper understanding of science, and scientists gain access to valuable resources and fresh perspectives. As sites for community engagement, education, and sometimes scientific research itself, science centers, museums, and related institutions are ideally positioned to connect the public with authentic research.

In this issue of Dimensions, we examine three ways our field is doing this work. A major part of the issue is devoted to citizen science, where volunteers partner with scientists to investigate real scientific questions. We define citizen science broadly here to include many different models of public participation in scientific research, whether laypeople are collecting or analyzing data, interpreting results, or determining research questions. In addition, this issue looks at research labs housed in museums, and programs that connect youth to scientists as mentors.

Features
• Everyone a Scientist? Opening Scientific Research to a Broader Public, by Martin Storksdieck
• Six Practices for Engaging Underrepresented Communities as Citizen Science Partners, by Norman Porticella, Flisa Stevenson, and Jennifer Shirk
Bridging the Gaps: Integrating Citizen Science Throughout an Institution, by Christine L. Goforth, Julie M. Urban, and Julie E. Horvath
• Select Resources to Support and Inspire Citizen Science, compiled by Christine L. Goforth and Jennifer Shirk
Powered by the People: A Citizen Science Sampler
• Testing the Waters: Students in India Monitor Arsenic Levels, by Niranjan Gupta, Nikhiles Biswas, Naba Kumar Mondal, G.S. Rautela, Emdadul Islam, and Marilyn Hoyt
• Teen Scientists: Youth Doing Rigorous, Authentic Research at Museums, by Preeti Gupta and Oscar Pineda
• Native Science Fellows: Supporting Native American Students in Geoscience Research, by Helen Augare, Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, Shelly Valdez, and Melissa Weatherwax
• There’s a New Lab in Town, by Sara Poirier

Online Departments
From the CEO: The “team sport” of science center learning
Viewpoints: Are making and tinkering spaces just a fad, or are they here to stay?
Q&A: Sean Carroll on science and the silver screen

Subscribe/order back issues

Bridging the Gaps: Integrating Citizen Science Throughout an Institution

May 30th, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

By Christine L. Goforth, Julie M. Urban, and Julie E. Horvath

From Dimensions
May/June 2014

At the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS), Raleigh, we’ve made citizen science a priority, because we recognize its power to teach people about the natural world and the role of science in their daily lives. The value of the citizen scientist is apparent throughout our museum, including in our research and collections, educational programs, exhibits, and outdoor facility, Prairie Ridge Ecostation. We constantly improve our public science offerings to reach out to our visitors and engage them in scientific experiences.
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