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7 May 2019

Paying SciComm Forward with SCOPE

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) is home to world-class research across broad-ranging topics relating to oceanic, atmospheric, and earth sciences. Located in sunny San Diego, the institution is also home to a thriving outreach program – the Scripps Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program.

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22 April 2019

Connecting Kids to Real World Science through Children’s Books

Many science education projects for elementary school age kids start with the assumption that, in order to get kids interested in the science, there needs to be a character like “Barbara Bacteria” or “Larry the Lava Flow” to get their attention. In my over twenty years of experience as a science educator and children’s author, I feel confident in saying that this is not the case.

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16 April 2019

Stare into the Lens Until You Feel Comfortable

As a classical pianist and composer, my natural talent was present but practice was essential. You need one or the other to be good, and both to be exceptional. All the hours each day I spent writing and experimenting with musical devices, or exercising a variety of quirky, intricate techniques on the piano, were crucial to forming solid skills and artistry. Practice makes perfect, and it also provides confidence, endurance, and mastery for when the stage is set.

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1 April 2019

Embedding science within the art world

Art and science are often seen as complete opposites: art is subjective, while science aims to discover objective facts about nature. But more and more, we are realising that there are commonalities between the two and art-science collaborations have become more common. From the scientists’ perspective, such efforts can potentially reach audiences outside of the scientific echo chamber, however, it’s not always clear whether they always successfully do this in practice.

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27 March 2019

Science communication needs mentorship. You can help.

As a grad student, I knew that I wanted to do communication and outreach work outside of academia. Unfortunately, I had no idea where to start. I had created a research plan from scratch, executed multiple experiments, and was in the process of writing my thesis; however, the idea of “outreach” scared the crap out of me. At least with that other stuff there was a road map from my adviser, colleagues, and committee members. But with outreach, I had no map, no examples, no mentor.

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11 March 2019

What does climate sound and look like?

We’ve developed a new exhibit, called Sounding Climate, that uses sound and images to represent modeled temperature, precipitation, sea ice and carbon dioxide data. The exhibit, installed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, helps public visitors explore data on an interactive touchscreen to understand anthropogenic climate change and natural variability.

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4 March 2019

So, you wanna start a science blog?

I’m not the type of person who’s always thought that I’ve had something to say (at least anything that people would listen to). Back in my grad school days, while I saw the value in science outreach, the “communication” part of that was a little tricky for me. “Who cares what I have to say?” Turns out, some people did.

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11 February 2019

Telling the Stories of STEM

I took a chance and asked Jane, has your son considered engineering? She gave me a strange look as if I hadn’t heard her say her son wanted a career that helps people, and she quickly changed the subject.  As a result, I missed the opportunity to tell Jane about Mike Paddock. 

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21 January 2019

How to make glaciers fun to learn about

I’ve been studying terrestrial glaciers for a half dozen years now, and Spoiler Alert: they are melting! While seeing the demise of the cryosphere unfold before my eyes, I started to pursue more and more outreach opportunities to help “get the word out” to the public.

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14 January 2019

The Science of Our Stories, Part II: Moving the Needle on Effective Science Communication

By Sunshine Menezes Young scientists-in-training face a variety of communication challenges, from writing their first lab report to drafting their first proposal, perhaps culminating in their dissertation. All along this part of the career spectrum, students are taught—too often implicitly—what “good” scientific communication looks like. Unfortunately, most corners of academia still emphasize a narrow definition of science communication that focuses on communication with scientific peers. This leaves early career scientists …

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