Young people today are eager to employ the most advanced tools of the information age to raise awareness and inspire action concerning global challenges, particularly those related to sustainability of the planet. These global challenges are the very issues that will be addressed at the next Earth Summit (Rio+20) in June 2012. Science centers and museums have a rich history of leadership in science education and in raising public around these critical issues. These centers place a special emphasis on engaging youth in the processes of learning and employing science based knowledge in the broadest possible interests of society. That is why ASTC has initiated “Science Centers and the Engagement and the Rio Summit” (SCEnaRioS). A project that will create dialogue between sciences centers from all over the world.
At this stage we have 5 projects involving 12 science centers centered on three topics: energy and the green economy, access to clean water, and health issues related to environmental change. The 12 science centers are partnered together in groups of twos and threes in order to facilitate a worldwide dialogue.
The project is based on the strong conviction that young people are willing to be part of the solution that will create a sustainable planet and their confidence and interest for the use of information technology will create a new form of dialogue that will be beneficial to the development of their new ideas and solutions. We also think that this project should use these elements to educate youth towards a better understanding of the links between global challenges and local impacts. The dialogue between the partnering projects should help the youths involved understand global impacts of local solutions.
The final event of the project will be an international web based video conference at and during the Rio Summit.
Water and Life
Water is essential to life and supply of clean drinking water is a critical issue for much of our world, particularly in Australia, Singapore, and China. This SCEnaRioS project will explore and discuss topics around the supply and management of clean water, including:
- Where does our drinking water come from,looking at the sources of this precious resource in each country and the impact of environmental changes on this supply.
- Exploring technologies and innovations in clean water supply—can Singapore become self-sustaining in its water supply? Can Australia’s cities and farms use water more sustainably?
- Do these countries share similar challenges and successes? What can be learned from each other?
This project will involve students in local explorations of these topics, drawing on existing exhibitions, resources, and expertise available to each partner, and culminating in a program of “conversations across borders”: interactive videoconferences involving school students, scientists, and engineers in each of the three partner countries to share their findings and experiences, and discuss what is important to them.
Guangdong Science Center, China
Project manager: Huang Yaping
Science Centre Singapore, Singapore
Project manager: Dr. Andy Giger
Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Project manager: Annie Harris
Water and Coastal Management
The Miami Science Museum and Maloka will partner to engage youth in learning and research on the impacts of climate change on water and coastal management, meet experts and other teens in a virtual “world,” and develop a web-based collection of related videos and other resources.
Youth at both locations will investigate the effects of climate change on Florida and the Colombian Andes. Although both science centers are at low latitudes, their geophysical differences are striking, with coastal Miami near sea level and mountainous Bogotá at 2,640 meters. Youth at both locations will engage in lively discussions as they seek similarities and contrasts between sites. Anticipated themes include:
- Effects of increased temperatures and decreased pH on coral reefs
- Sea level rise and its effect on human and natural environments
- Changing precipitation patterns leading to both floods and droughts
- Glacial retreat and its impact on local communities and ecosystems
Both teams will create avatars in a virtual world, where they will meet with content experts and collaborate with other teens to design models of changing habitats. Then, teams will create real- and virtual-world videos to communicate their perspective on the issues, concerns, and questions raised by climate change.
Maloka, Bogotá, Colombia
Project managers: Sigrid Falla and Alejandra Casas
Miami Science Center, Miami, U.S.A.
Project managers: Ted Meyers and Lindsay Bartholomew
Global Energy Consumption
The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), the Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland, California, U.S.A.), and the Experimentarium (Copenhagen, Denmark) are partnering to focus on ways teens can make changes in their lifestyles to reduce their energy consumption. Focusing on both big and small steps they can take, teens will look toward the future of local and global energy consumption and develop strategies to help spread energy saving lifestyle changes to a greater audience. Outreach efforts will draw on existing exhibitions at each center/museum and social media as a way to reach other young people throughout the world. Additionally, teens will examine what current research and technological advances are developing in their local areas and how that growth will impact and change energy consumption in the future.
Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Project managers: Sandra Corbeil, Jason Armstrong, and Claude Flaubert
Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Project managers: Lisa Hoover and Etta Herber
Experimentarium, Copenhagen, Denmark
Project manager: Asger Hoeg
Climate Change: Health and the Environment
The Museum of Life in Brazil and the Paulo Samuel Kankhomba Secondary School in Mozambique will address climate change and its impact on the environment and health, examined from two dimensions. The first dimension is geographic (local, regional, and worldwide), and the second is time. The youth will examine rainfall, population, and health statistics while doing research and reports on the participants’ communities. Students will speak with local seniors, community stakeholders and Rio ’92 participants to produce new questions and solutions to create a stimulating discussion between the partner groups.
Paulo Samuel Kankhomba Secondary School, Niassa, Mozambique
Project managers: Jorge Malita and Orlando Govene
Muesa de Vida, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Project manager: Luisa Massarani
Green Energy & Sustainability
The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space and Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center of Shreveport will collaborate on a project that will engage middle and high school students on both sides of the ocean, in a project focusing on energy consumption reduction in their schools, as an example of altered behavior which contributes to environmental and resource protection and sustainability. A cadre of about 20 students from Haifa and Louisiana high schools each will spearhead the program. They will examine their schools’ energy consumption as it relates to water and to electricity, and devise a plan for its reduction. MadaTech and LAHS educational and environmental experts will provide initial workshops for the student task forces and be on hand to guide them on specific issues, both substantive and technical.
MadaTech, Haifa, Israel
Project managers: Dr. Ronen Mir, Dr. Irit Wertheim, Tal Berman
Sci-Port, Louisiana’s Science Center, Shreveport, U.S.A.
Project managers: Ann S. Fumarulo and Karen Wissing