Much like missions to outer space, the deep-ocean expeditions of the NSF-sponsored ship JOIDES Resolution have the potential to ignite the imaginations of a whole generation of Americans—to engage thousands of people in the excitement of exploration, the process of science, and the people and tools required to get there. The JR is on a mission of scientific discovery into the unknown. What lies beneath all that water? What secrets about our planet’s development and ancient history can be revealed by sediments and rocks below? How can these explorations shed light on topics of great societal relevance, like climate change, the huge biosphere beneath the seafloor, and geo-hazards like earthquakes and tsunamis?
The In Search of Earth's Secrets Project uses the JR and her science to intrigue, engage, and inspire informal science audiences across the nation. The hypothesis of this project is that well-designed and facilitated Pop-Up blitzes and Drill Down opportunities at museums and libraries in carefully selected locations will provide an effective mechanism for increasing STEM learning access among underserved minorities, rural populations and girls, and create a broadly applicable model for doing so in other science fields.
Our goals with the project are to:
Increase access to and awareness of ocean/earth science and careers especially in disadvantaged communities, by bringing the activities, exhibits and scientists themselves to non-traditional venues ranging from block parties, local festivals, malls and parking lots to libraries, museums, and science centers.
Create a sustainable model for STEM learning in informal environments.
Increase interest in the scientific drilling and research activities of the
among the general public (children, teens and adults) who attend the PUBs and Drill Down events.
Foster partnerships between educators and scientists that lead to broader dissemination of scientists research and the larger vision of NSF.
This application is for new Community Partners
Community teams consist of three local representatives from these organizations: a Girl Scout council, the public library system and/or a museum or science center and a project manager, who may be a part of one of those organizations or a related one (the exact make-up of the team is flexible). Teams will work together to plan, facilitate, and evaluate the project locally but will also be contributing to a multi-year, national project. Additional locations and groups of teams will be added each year for at least three additional years.
In selecting a representative for the team, partners should consider the overall scope and objectives of the project. Staff members will likely assist with day-to-day programmatic and/or administrative aspects of the project. Each community team will send staff representatives to attend a 3-day planning and training meeting at Texas A&M University, which will include both science background/content and effective ways to facilitate the Pop-Up exhibits. Also, teams will explore the exhibit components and have the opportunity to discuss and develop their initial plans for implementation in their respective communities, including coming up with appropriate schedules and event dates. Travel and related training expenses will be covered by the grant. Funds to support the community team organizations are also available.
Back at home, each local team will work together to plan and implement the programs and events in their community. The project's local manager will provide the necessary support to make the program a success, including organizing meetings, communicating with national program leaders, helping to facilitate all project needs and outcomes, and coordinating reports and evaluation instruments.
In general, partnering Girl Scout council will:
Recruit approximately 35 Girl Scout teens from its organization to participate in a local workshop series for the girls, and collaborate in running the workshop series during the first year, from which interested Girl Scouts will be encouraged and prepared to volunteer with the kiosks (learning stations) during the Pop-Up Blitzes (PUBs) and Drill Down events.
Promote the workshop series, Pop-Up Blitzes, and Drill Down events within their council or chapter, including through the council's alternative pathways.
Identify a staff member or council volunteer as primary contact and send a representative to the multi-team planning and training workshop at TAMU.
Each partnering museum, library, and/or science center commits to:
Assist in hosting and running the local workshop series for Girl Scouts and other volunteers who will facilitate the kiosks during associated events.
Host and display several of the earth and ocean science kiosks at one or more library branches or the informal science institution for the entire 4-8-week season of the program during each of two consecutive years.
Assist in marketing and promoting the program to patrons and the community.
Evaluation and Optional Further Involvement All project team members will be involved in providing data that will be used in the analysis and evaluation of the overall project. What we learn together will help improve the program and contribute to the reports(s) that will be submitted to NSF. A small amount of funding will be available for sites to remain involved after their first two years.