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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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dennyhenke
super member


Reged: 09/07/12

Loc: Fredericktown, MO
Science Scouts!! new
      #5606615 - 01/05/13 01:19 PM

As I've been pondering possible methods for organization of general science outreach one thought that has occurred to me, what about the scout model? Obviously, this would be oriented towards youth but would involve adults in leadership roles. Seems like it might be an interesting and fun way to do it with "merit" badges offered in the different areas of science?

I know I'm a geek but I think the idea of science scouts sounds very cool.


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Zamboni
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/03/05

Loc: Colorado Springs
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: dennyhenke]
      #5626444 - 01/16/13 03:55 PM

You mean like this?

http://www.scq.ubc.ca/sciencescouts/


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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: Zamboni]
      #5636702 - 01/22/13 11:35 AM

The Night Sky Network and the Astronomical League also offer the equivalent of "merit badges" (observing challenges) for us older folks.

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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5637037 - 01/22/13 02:28 PM

Don't need no badge....just a scope and an eyepiece.......and sometimes not even that......

But for kids, gotta have something that grabs their attention.....the planets will do that, but first ya gotta convince'em to look into the eyepiece......


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dennyhenke
super member


Reged: 09/07/12

Loc: Fredericktown, MO
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5641754 - 01/24/13 11:52 PM

My reason for suggesting it is that it seems there is a lot of chatter about the importance of getting/keeping kids interested in science and yet, it seems like there is minimal concerted effort outside of public schools to encourage it. It's so easy to play soccer or some other sport and so many other non-science activities.

If we really want to encourage science we need to do a better job of providing some sort of organization. Imagine a group marketed/modeled as a blend of the scouting programs and something like Star Fleet Academy. Boots on the ground, universe explorers that take water samples from lakes, build radio telescopes, spend time counting bird populations when not counting their Messier Objects!

I'm going to see if I can interest one of the established organizations such as the Planetary Society in taking it on as a project... I've just been in touch with a few folks and am waiting to hear back.


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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: dennyhenke]
      #5643213 - 01/25/13 07:32 PM

Good for you Denny, seems like a worthy project. Hope it goes well and please keep us updated .... Phil

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John Kuraoka
sage
*****

Reged: 12/12/12

Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: wky46]
      #5644274 - 01/26/13 11:54 AM

My son's elementary school has star parties once or twice a year, in conjunction with a local astronomy club. It's always very well attended. The fifth grade class sells refreshments as a fundraiser, so the event fulfills a lot of needs. The first steps, though, are a club willing to do outreach to kids, a Friday night with dark, clear skies, and a principal willing to do the extra (and uncompensated) work needed to open up the campus after hours and manage the necessary staff and volunteers.

Last week's star party had to be cancelled, though, because of rain. A lot of kids are hoping that it can be rescheduled.


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Doug Reilly
professor emeritus
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Reged: 07/29/08

Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5673642 - 02/11/13 08:53 AM

Denny,
I think it's a great idea. I've had a complimentary idea for a while, of an overnight camp focused on science (earth and astronomy), for "kids of all ages"--I'm a big believer in mixed age groups, though there would be youth-only programs as well as elder camps. I also imagined it running partially as a "retreat" for professional astronomers who want to get back to visual observing (and do some light lecturing). And, I also imagined training programs for Park Rangers...and then I sort of imagined a kind of Civilian Conservation Corps-type program that would recruit and train people to do science outreach (obviously with a focus on astronomy). Not too far from your scouts idea. How would our country change if we sent specialists in science outreach into every community?

I think both ideas are formed around the sense of urgency...if we don't get science out there, in a big way, we're going to tip into a disastrous state of ignorance....a la Arthur Clarke's warnings about technology and magic. A cursory glance at what passes for critical dialogue on TV certainly reinforces the fear that our educational system(s) have been producing people without critical thinking skills, easily maleable by fear and impulse. I often think that if all Americans had a minimum training in skepticism and evidence-based thinking, it would radically transform our society, certainly advertising and politics would have to change their way of communicating, because the simplistic messaging of today would simply no longer fulfill the demands of a critical citizenry.

In my outreach efforts, I have found the general public to be more hungry for scientific insight into the natural world than many of the college students I work with. I take this as a hopeful sign (though disturbing in terms of its implications for higher education), and a sign that you might be on to something.

Sorry for my veering off into culture and politics there, but I do believe Scouting was also a response to upheaval of a simliar magnitude (if different direction).

Keep us posted on your plans, and know you have a willing ally in the Bicycle Astronomy project.


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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5673782 - 02/11/13 10:28 AM

Quote:

Don't need no badge....just a scope and an eyepiece.......and sometimes not even that......

But for kids, gotta have something that grabs their attention.....the planets will do that, but first ya gotta convince'em to look into the eyepiece......




Honestly, it could be as simple as 'badges' for an 'app' that they keep on their i-device/facebook account. People like to show others what they've accomplished, so if you could automate that some how (and have it signed off by the 'supervisor' of a group) I think you could motivate kids to get into observing.

I'm sure many of you haven't played XBOX360, but they have these things called 'achievements' on the game system. People spend HOURS just doing dumb things in games to get an 'achievement'. I think you could develop a similar process for a facebook app.

Mind you, I'm not a web developer


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Matt2893
super member


Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Re: Science Scouts!! [Re: Raginar]
      #5683481 - 02/16/13 12:59 PM

For those in Cub Scouts / Boy Scouts, there is the Nova Awards program...
http://www.scouting.org/stem/Awards.aspx


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drbyyz
sage
**

Reged: 11/04/12

Re: Science Scouts!! new [Re: Raginar]
      #5691740 - 02/20/13 08:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Don't need no badge....just a scope and an eyepiece.......and sometimes not even that......

But for kids, gotta have something that grabs their attention.....the planets will do that, but first ya gotta convince'em to look into the eyepiece......




Honestly, it could be as simple as 'badges' for an 'app' that they keep on their i-device/facebook account. People like to show others what they've accomplished, so if you could automate that some how (and have it signed off by the 'supervisor' of a group) I think you could motivate kids to get into observing.

I'm sure many of you haven't played XBOX360, but they have these things called 'achievements' on the game system. People spend HOURS just doing dumb things in games to get an 'achievement'. I think you could develop a similar process for a facebook app.

Mind you, I'm not a web developer




It's true, many people are motivated by these kinds of things. PS3 games have the same idea but call them "trophies." If someone could come up with an app/game for phones that kids could use to get similar achievements, that would definitely be a good start. Combine what our youth enjoys with what they should be enjoying!


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