Organized Science/Astronomy Outreach?
Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:34 PM
Here's what I've got going on as a sort of example of what I am proposing. We have a group that meets in town once a week, we call it the Geek Parade. Started as a general sort of discussion group covering all sorts of things. This past fall we centered it on science with a loose structure. We're all non-scientists taking turns researching different areas and reporting back to the group. More recently a couple of us have been focused on astronomy. I purchased my first scope since the 9th grade (I'm 42) and have spent the past 3 months learning the night sky in search of Messier objects and the Herschel 400, etc as well as exploring the science of Astronomy. In fact we're meeting more often outside of town at my place because of the dark skies, often 2-3 times a week. As word get's out about us and our scopes we're getting some interest from outside of the group. A friend at the library has now started directing anyone interested in astronomy to me and I had my first session this past Saturday with 7 homeschool kids and their parents! I've got others coming soon.
My intent is to continue as I have and to do a bit of outreach. I'll be contacting the teacher responsible for the science club at each of the local schools and have also considered how we might organize an ongoing series of in-town discussions/presentations covering a range of topics fundamental to the different sciences. The idea would be to introduce some of the basic concepts in geology, astronomy, biology as we also introduce people to (remind them of what they hopefully learned in HS) the scientific method, skepticism and critical thinking in general. The audience would depend on the specifics of the activities.
I'm thinking of this as a sort of organized community/citizen science outreach which could happen in local libraries (or other spaces) and which might hopefully draw upon the services of educators from local schools when needed and available. Is there anything like this happening aside from star parties? If not is it something that should be developed? Might there be interest for that here?
Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:14 PM
While I fullly appreciate what you are doing for the community, and encourage you to continue (check into maybe setting up something with more rural harvest fairs, 4H fairs, etc...think of the dark skies and how much that would do for public outreach). I do have a little problem with the guy from the library sending you "homeschoolers". It would be ok if he was sending any interested parties, he is a public employee; but if he is only sending "Homeschooled" children, he is not being fair to the rest of the community. In many states "Homeschooled" famlies get gov't funds to help with the schooling; these are tax dollars. Public schools would be required to pay someone to "teach" their children, even if it was a special presentation. Turning your good hearted project into a "free" class for the Homeschooled goes a little beyond what I consider acceptable for a public employee to do. Nothing against you, but you may want to let the guy know that you are willing to present to others as well...
Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:22 PM
Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:26 PM
Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:02 PM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:44 PM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:53 PM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:43 PM