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Here, There, & Everywhere: Public Science Through Analogy
 

Here, There, & Everywhere: Public Science Through Analogy

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Here, There, and Everywhere (HTE) is a NASA-funded program that consists of a series of exhibitions, posters, and supporting hands-on activities that utilize analogies in the teaching of science, ...

Here, There, and Everywhere (HTE) is a NASA-funded program that consists of a series of exhibitions, posters, and supporting hands-on activities that utilize analogies in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to provide multi-generational and family-friendly content in English and Spanish for community centers, libraries, schools, and under-resourced or small science centers. The purpose of the program is to connect cross-cutting content -- in Earth, atmospheric, planetary sciences and astrophysics -- with everyday phenomena, helping to demonstrate that what happens here (in our daily lives), happens there (on a planetary scale), and happens everywhere (across the Universe). The HTE program utilizes multimodal content delivery (physical exhibits and handouts, interpretive stations, facilitated activities for educators as well as online materials) hosted by locations for informal science learning as identified by previous partnerships as well as through advertisement of opportunities.

The use of metaphors in teaching and learning has a long-standing history. Metaphors can be an effective way to make something new seem less daunting, by comparing it with something more familiar. This technique of equating different or disparate things to one another can help complex concepts become more understandable and accessible. It is the power of the metaphor that we seek to discuss in this proposed article. We explore a recent public science project from the Chandra X-ray Center called “Here, There and Everywhere” that attempts to utilize analogy in effective science communication, as well as what dangers might exist in the use of metaphor and analogy. We also look to other areas where metaphors may be useful to implement in astronomy communications, such as for upcoming programs including the International Year of Light 2015.

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  • Here, There, and Everywhere (HTE) is a NASA-funded program that consists of a series of exhibitions, posters, and supporting hands-on activities that utilize analogies in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to provide multi-generational and family-friendly content in English and Spanish for community centers, libraries, schools, and under-resourced or small science centers. The purpose of the program is to connect cross-cutting content -- in Earth, atmospheric, planetary sciences and astrophysics -- with everyday phenomena, helping to demonstrate that what happens here (in our daily lives), happens there (on a planetary scale), and happens everywhere (across the Universe). The HTE program utilizes multimodal content delivery (physical exhibits and handouts, interpretive stations, facilitated activities for educators as well as online materials) hosted by locations for informal science learning as identified by previous partnerships as well as through advertisement of opportunities. <br /> The use of metaphors in teaching and learning has a long-standing history. Metaphors can be an effective way to make something new seem less daunting, by comparing it with something more familiar. This technique of equating different or disparate things to one another can help complex concepts become more understandable and accessible. It is the power of the metaphor that we seek to discuss in this proposed article. We explore a recent public science project from the Chandra X-ray Center called “Here, There and Everywhere” that attempts to utilize analogy in effective science communication, as well as what dangers might exist in the use of metaphor and analogy. We also look to other areas where metaphors may be useful to implement in astronomy communications, such as for upcoming programs including the International Year of Light 2015. <br />
  • Visited public science spaces primarily such as public libraries, community centers, also school and university libraries and small science centers, and 4H events/meetings. Exhibit, hands-on activities and demonstrations, supplemented at locales with reading groups, lectures/demonstrations, sun or night sky viewing events, field trips, games and clubs. <br />
  • Starting with the basics <br />
  • There were useful &quot;lessons learned&quot; during the content development phase in creating the visual metaphors. For example, some of the preliminary science concepts early in the project had to be altered, diminished, or discarded all together because it became clear during content creation that the storyline was either not scientifically accurate enough, or if during formative evaluation, the metaphor did not connect the dots well enough for the non-expert perspective. The collaborative content creation process instead led to new and potentially more effective visual and scientific comparisons that were included in the main exhibit as well as the supplemental cases that extend the concept of the universality of physics, and which examples are featured on the web site and in the suite of products <br />
  • Good for connecting with wind & weather units at elementary schools <br />
  • Good for connecting with erosion units at elementary schools <br />
  • For distribution of the exhibit, an existing network from the From Earth to the Universe (FETTU) project was utilized. In addition, a new opportunity to work with the American Library Association (ALA) resulted in an expansion of the existing informal science education network to include a number of US libraries. The ALA advertised the HTE opportunity on their blog and as a result, applications to host the exhibit oversubscribed the available dates by 225%. To help address this demonstrated need, the exhibit travel end date was extended for an additional 9 months, through May of 2015. Sets of poster versions, activities and handout materials are being circulated to locations that were not selected. <br /> Also partnered with NY’s 4H in a train the trainer approach. <br />
  •   <br /> Arcand, K.K., Watzke, M. 2012. “Framing “From Earth to the Solar System” as Public Science” Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal, accepted. <br />   <br /> Arcand, K.K., Watzke, M. 2011 “Creating Public Science with the From Earth to the Universe Project” Science Communication. 33 (3). <br />   <br /> Arcand, K.K, Watzke, M. 2010. “Bringing the Universe to the Street: A Preliminary Look at Informal Learning Implications for a Large-Scale Non-traditional Science Outreach Project”. JCOM Journal of Science Communication. Vol 09, Issue 02. <br />   <br />
  • More than 56% of survey participants attend science events either never or less than 1/year. 73% of participants rated their knowledge of astro as either nothing/very little/or some. <br /> I’ve also highlighted the gender breakdown because for me it’s unusual to see this -60% female, 40 male. We can’t say this is the breakdown of total participants of course, but to see a higher percentage of females in a randomly selected survey can help give us some idea that this is not a heavily male-centric event. If you compare this with percentages for certain online surveys of astronomy web site such as Chandra, the breakdown is often the reverse with 30-40%-ish female. <br /> Close to 70% were drawn to this exhibit because of an interest in learning about science. <br />   <br /> Overall visitors really liked the exhibit. 63% of respondents liked it a great deal and an additional 25% liked it quite a bit. They also found it interesting – 80% indicated quite a bit or a great deal. There interest was spread across all topics covered in the exhibition. <br />   <br /> They also learned from the exhibit. 72% learned a great deal or quite a bit from the exhibit. <br /> The exhibit has increased visitors’ interest in astronomy. 64% indicated that their interest in astronomy has increased. <br />   <br /> 65% of visitors indicated that visiting H T E has increased their interest in attending another science event. <br />
  • Research strongly suggests that the knowledge and reasoning of participants is situated within a context. Here, There, and Everywhere can achieve the important goal of allowing participants to discover how scientific knowledge relates to everyday experiences and familiar phenomena. <br />   <br /> HTE also seeks to provide science content and engagement in a realm that shows great promise in increasing scientific literacy and interest in large segments of the greater public. By placing engaging and accessible scientific content into public spaces such as libraries, HTE can establish unusual and memorable connections between exciting topics. Preliminary evaluation shows that these connections help ignite excitement and an appetite to learn more in lay audiences. Public science projects including HTE can help open the pipeline, to empower more non-experts into deeper learning opportunities in informal and formal STEM education. <br />
  • Beyond 2014, we were awarded funding to launch a Braille set of adapted HTE materials, coming out this fall. The newly funded sets of tactile and Braille panel (created with lessons learned from our previous braille materials and by request of those specialized audiences requesting more basic physics concepts and more relatable ideas) is being mounted on still styrene as in previous Chandra/SAO Braille projects for proven tactile sensitivity, durability and cost effectiveness. Each Braille panel set for distribution will contain 7 panels at 12&quot;x17.75&quot; size. One set of the posters will be provided to each of the 12 full HTE NASA-funded exhibit locations scheduled in the post-production timeframe. The remaining 88 copies of the materials will be disseminated to established networks we have successfully worked with for the visually impaired, including: <br /> The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for their annual and regional conferences. <br /> Libraries that host activities for visually-impaired groups (including American Library Association’s Library Services to Special Populations network) <br /> Schools for the blind and public schools with specialized programs. <br />
  • Added open source content for others to be able to make their own exhibit <br /> Moving forward, we are creating a large scale public science program for the International Year of Light 2015 with some content adapted from HTE, much broadened into the science of light. http://iyl.cfa.harvard.edu/ <br />

Here, There, & Everywhere: Public Science Through Analogy Here, There, & Everywhere: Public Science Through Analogy Presentation Transcript

  • http://hte.si.edu Public Science Through Analogy Kimberly Kowal Arcand @kimberlykowal Visualization Lead Chandra X-ray Center/SAO June 4, 2014 #HTEScience Here. There. Everywhere.
  • http://hte.si.edu
  • http://hte.si.edu Light That Does Not Pass You are relaxing with a book on a nice sunny day when a friend leans over your shoulder and the page goes dark. "Hey, you're blocking my light!" It is a familiar experience. Any time an object blocks the light from another source, it forms a shadow. http://hte.si.edu/shadows.html
  • http://hte.si.edu Atomic Light Show Atoms, the building blocks of matter, are constantly in motion, moving around at speeds that are thousands of miles per hour at room temperatures, and millions of miles per hour behind a supernova shock wave. In a collision of an atom with another atom, or with a free-roaming electron, energy can be transferred to the atom. This extra energy can then be released in the form of a light wave. http://hte.si.edu/atoms
  • http://hte.si.edu ZAP! You shuffle along a carpet, reach out to touch a doorknob and—zap!—a sudden flow of current, or electric discharge, gives you a mild shock. The cause? Friction between your feet and the carpet built up negative electric charge on your body. Electric discharges can occur wherever there is a large build-up of electric charge, and can create spectacular displays of sudden energy release on Earth and in space. http://hte.si.edu/electric
  • http://hte.si.edu Seeding The growth of new structures depends on the introduction of novel material into an environment. Bees distribute pollen from one plant to another, promoting reproduction in plants. Farmers seed and fertilize soil to enable the growth of selected crops. Oxygen, iron and other heavy elements necessary for the formation of planets are distributed into interstellar space by supernova explosions. http://hte.si.edu/seedingmore.html
  • http://hte.si.edu Where the Wind Blows Winds can move particles from one place to another. A wind can occur wherever a difference in pressure between two locations is not balanced by some other force such as gravity. On Earth, winds can blow briefly during a storm, and over long time scales, as in the jet stream. Winds have also been detected on other planets, in interplanetary space as the solar wind, around stars (stellar winds), and in galaxies. http://hte.si.edu/wind.html
  • http://hte.si.edu The Pillars of Erosion The relentless action of winds slowly carve away at the environment, leaving behind sculptures from erosion. Microchip fabrication uses particle beams to erode material and create structures on the surface. Prolonged wind erosion in deserts leaves behind columns of dense rock. Winds from bright stars blow away their surroundings to unveil dense regions of gas from which stars are forming. http://hte.si.edu/erosionmore.html
  • http://hte.si.edu
  • http://hte.si.edu HTE satisfies multiple communications goals: • Customer needs focus: Derived originally from feedback from existing projects by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, such as From Earth to the Universe (http://www.fromearthtotheuniverse.org), and From Earth to the Solar System (http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov), (Arcand & Watzke, 2010, 2012) additional user feedback was sought and analyzed to determine if audiences were being reached. • Partnerships: Interdisciplinary content, cross-forum linkages (from planetary science to heliophysics to astrophysics), informal science education practitioner collaboration. HTE images and information come from multiple science missions, Chandra, Hubble, Cassini, GOES-11, GOES-12, etc. • Sustainability: HTE is using a model of public science to continue reaching out to previous network of public science organizers and participants (Arcand & Watzke, 2010), building upon established relationships (and growing new networks) to build capacities for opportunities in engaging audiences with science content in public spaces.
  • http://hte.si.edu As of December 2013, 198 randomly selected visitors completed surveys about their experience in the HTE exhibition for 7 different venues (public libraries, school libraries, science center & community center). Results: Survey participant demographics
  • http://hte.si.edu Feedback from staff members: It brought people into the library whom had not been here before and it caused us to gain new volunteers who are now willing to do other things for us in the future. It brought us some very good exposure in the wide area media and other smaller papers, radio, etc. The City "fathers" were impressed that we had been chosen to host the exhibition…a feather in our cap, so to say. “ ” The HTE exhibit is being used to jump start our discussion about that exhibit and promote the sciences in our community. We had a number of parents come back with their children to view the exhibit after their children saw the exhibit with their class. “ ” Science education is fairly poor in our community and yet we've recently discovered that almost all future economic growth will require a science background. Any opportunities to share science with the community will have a positive impact and hopefully motivate a couple of students to pursue further science training. “ ” 100% of staff reported that they would host another such science outreach project I was able to work across departments with our Youth program coordinator to create programs for the community. We were able to make connections with a local university physics dept. as well as other local science/space organizations that we can employ for future programs. “ ” I use HTE as an example of the kinds of things the library is doing to promote the importance of science to every person, regardless the age or educational level. “ ”
  • http://hte.si.edu
  • http://hte.si.edu Make your own HTE exhibit (open source) LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb
  • http://hte.si.edu Contact: Email: kkowal@cfa.harvard.edu Twitter: @kimberlykowal Phone: 617.218.7196 Here, There & Everywhere: http://hte.si.edu Light Beyond the Bulb (IYL2015): http://iyl.cfa.harvard.edu/ Chandra X-ray Observatory: http://chandra.si.edu This material is based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant NNX11AH28G issued through the Science Mission Directorate. Portions of this paper have been presented at the European Planetary Science Congress meeting (2012) and the Astronomy Society of the Pacific conference (2013).