Lights On Afterschool Partnership Minigrant Recipients

September 29th, 2014 - Posted in ASTC News, Partners by Mary Mathias

ASTC and the Afterschool Alliance have, through funding from the Noyce Foundation, awarded 20 Lights On Afterschool Partnership Minigrants. Minigrants were awarded to ASTC-member institutions to aid in the implementation of an event for the Lights On Afterschool celebration in cooperation with an afterschool partner. This program stems from the partnership formed between ASTC and the Afterschool Alliance as our Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual drive to find innovative solutions to promote economic recovery in the United States, including objectives in education and skill development. This minigrant program is designed to strengthen STEM learning partnerships between ASTC-member science centers in the United States and afterschool providers.

The 15th annual Lights On Afterschool celebration will be held on October 23, 2014, with events taking place throughout October. Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families, and communities. Science centers are ideally placed to hold events as a part of Lights On Afterschool, and these grants were awarded to support such events.

Congratulations to all recipients:

  • Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, AZ, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, AZ
  • The Bakken Museum, with the Sabathani Community Center, both in Minneapolis, MN
  • Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, with Journey House Community Center, both in Milwaukee, WI
  • Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, with the Sewickley Valley YMCA in Sewickley, PA
  • Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, IL, with the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, IL
  • Children’s Discovery Museum in Augusta, ME, with the Maine Afterschool Network in Farmington
  • Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum of Albuquerque, with Children’s Choice Child Care Services, Inc, both in Albuquerque, NM
  • Exploration Place, The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center in Wichita, KS, with McConnell Air Force Base 4-H at McConnell AFB, KS
  • The Franklin Institute, with Project H.O.M.E. / Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, both in Philadelphia, PA
  • Headwaters Science Center, with the Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, both in Bemidji, MN
  • Imagination Station Science and History Museum, with The SPOT, both in Wilson, NC
  • miSci – museum of innovation and science in Schenectady, NY, with AfterSchool Works! New York in Menands, NY
  • Museum of Discovery, with the Arkansas Out of School Network, both in Little Rock
  • Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT, with the Boys & Girls Club of Lewistown, MT
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, with the Youth Development Coalition of Lincoln County in Newport, OR
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, both in Dallas, TX
  • Roper Mountain Science Center, with Communities in Schools, both in Greenville, SC
  • South Dakota Discovery Center, with Oahe YMCA Kidstop, both in Pierre
  • Staten Island Children’s Museum, with The Children’s Aid Society, both in Staten Island, NY
  • University of Alaska Museum of the North, with 4-H – University of Alaska, both in Fairbanks

Upcoming Webinar- Back to School: Techniques and Tips for Evaluating School Group Experiences

September 8th, 2014 - Posted in Events, Professional Development by Mary Mathias

It’s that time of year when students are heading back to school and museums are getting ready for school group visits. But how do you know what students are learning and what can you say about the long-term impacts of sometimes very short experiences? In this webinar, we will explore concrete ways to evaluate school group visit experiences and get the most valuable and helpful feedback possible.

Join Jennifer Borland, a Senior Evaluator with Rockman Et Al – an evaluation firm that specializes in museum-based program evaluation – on September 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET for an hour-long, in-depth session that explores basic techniques, helpful hints, and creative ways to evaluate school group programs and visits.

This webinar is being co-hosted by the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the Visitor Studies Association. The registration fee is $25 and includes access to an archived recording of the webinar, a detailed handout with a variety of tips, and a digital badge/certificate for participating in the webinar.

Webinar participants will:

  • Learn tips and tricks for developing evaluation strategies for school groups (or ways to improve existing plans)
  • Learn how to hone evaluation instruments so that they are effective tools for gathering the type of data that is most helpful to you and your institution
  • Leave with actionable steps for effective school-group evaluation that can be implemented immediately
  • Get ideas for making school-group evaluation more fun and effective
  • Get ideas for how to use technology to streamline the evaluation process
  • Establish plans for utilizing evaluation data to make programmatic improvements in the future

Register Now
Date: September 24, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT
Fee: $25

ASTC Member Profile: The Science Zone – Casper, Wyoming

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: “The Science Zone strives to be the premier science center in Central Wyoming by offering quality programming, educators, and exhibits. We provide high-interest, hands-on learning experiences for all ages, thereby making involvement in STEM an integral part of our patrons’ lives.”

The Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming is the only public science center in the state. The center is designed for children and families to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on activities and programs. The museum currently has six main exhibits, including the Reflection Zone, Zone Zoo, Engineering Zone, and Bubble Zone, as well as sections on electricity and nanotechnology. It also boasts a variety of after school science clubs, such as:

The Science Zone also hosts a home school science class, a pre-K and younger science program, a monthly Night at the Museum evening event, and also runs a high school explainer program.

For more information, visit

ASTC Member Profile: Museo de los Niños de Caracas – Caracas, Venezuela

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: Helping children to “learn by playing” with the principles of science, technology, art, and the fundamental values of society.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas opened after eight years of planning, on August 5, 1982, led by Alicia Pietri de Caldera, the First Lady of Venezuela from 1969-1974 and 1994-1999. Exhibits and experiences at the museum are designed for children ages 6 to 14 and focus on being the opposite of a traditional “do not touch” museum. Exhibits are divided into four core subjects:

  • Biology – The Biology area includes information on the human body and brain, genetics, health and nutrition, and microscopy. Many of the exhibits include three-dimensional models and other interactive elements.
  • Communication – The Communication area includes exhibits on language, telecommunication, television, photography, film, and computing.
  • Ecology – The Ecology area demonstrates the relationships between living things and their surroundings, including information on ecosystems, food chains, natural resources, alternative energies, and environmental protection.
  • Physics – The Physics area covers the foundations of mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, optics, and more thorough hands-on activities.

Visitors can also participate in programs on space travel, color, and living a drug-free life, as well as visit the newest exhibit all about energy. The museum also has a planetarium and hosts programs for children during school breaks and corporate events.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas is open daily. For more information, visit

Celebrating Community Engagement

September 3rd, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

September/October 2014

Science centers and museums are community-focused institutions. In this issue, we explore many ways science centers are engaging and empowering people in all parts of their communities. Working alongside community members and partners, science centers are addressing key issues, from protecting the environment, to increasing high school graduation rates, to developing the science, technology, engineering, and math workforce. By involving community members in the co-creation of exhibitions or programs, science centers are building a sense of ownership while incorporating community voices and talents to create something greater than what could have been produced in house. To reach new audiences, science centers are bringing programs to people where they are, whether through festival events in underserved urban neighborhoods, mobile outreach to rural areas, or even science education in prisons. And centers and their communities are supporting each other in times of disaster or unrest, highlighting the key role that science centers play in community life.

• Learning Conversations: Inviting Community Partnership in a Science Center, by Wit Ostrenko and Fred Steier
• Building an Exhibition One Relationship at a Time, by Jason Bosher
• A Kaleidoscope of Stories from the People of La Guajira, Colombia, by Sigrid Falla and Augusto Reyes
• From Fossils to Face Masks: Connecting with Collections in Alaska, by Theresa Bakker
• From Downtown to Across the State: Taking a Central Role in STEM Education in Arizona, by Michele A. Meyer
Science Festivals: Celebrations of Science Around the World
• Six Ways to Make Your Science Festival Unforgettable, by Natalie Ireland
• Community Engagement in the Wake of Disaster
Into the Light: Bringing Science Education to the Incarcerated, by Nalini Nadkarni
• Engaging Families of Incarcerated Individuals, by John Polatch

Online Departments:
From the CEO: The communities (in which) we serve
Viewpoints: If you could change one thing about the science center and museum field, what would it be?
Q&A with Molly Paul: Turtle power

Subscribe/order back issues

© Association of Science - Technology Centers Incorporated