Science for the Public: Communication and Mentoring
                                                                          Fall quarter, 2004

This course aims to develop the knowledge and skills that scientists need in order to communicate effectively about science with non-experts and to serve as science mentors for young people.  The components of the course are a biweekly seminar and fieldwork in mentoring.  Seminars will be led by campus educators, science teachers (grades 8 and 9), and outside experts.  Fieldwork will take place in local schools and focus on 8th and 9th grade science classes and after-school clubs.

Advisors for fieldwork 
Ali Whitmer (MSI) x6147;  Ali will advise all of the docents and MSI students in the course.
Wendy Ibsen (CNSI) x8527;, for everyone else.

Seminar organizers
Beth Gwinn (Physics; instructor of record) x2564;
Ali Whitmer (MSI) x6147;
Fiona Goodchild x8570;
 Wendy Ibsen (CNSI) x8527;

Seminar schedule and assignments 

October 1  Perceptions of Science and Scientists (Prof. Beth Gwinn) and
Keys to Small-Group Communication (Teachers Marilyn Garza and Aaron Sottile)

Pre-seminar reading assignments

• The material on "strategic frame analysis" at  Frameworks Institute.  Think about how these ideas relate to science.
• Contrasting articles from the popular press by Margaret Wertheim and  Dave Barry.
• An article on children's images of scientists:StudentPerceptions.pdf

Pre-seminar activity assignment
Choose one of the following:
A.  Ask at least one non-scientist (such as the clerk at 7-11) to tell you briefly what image the term "science" conjures for them.  Be prepared to discuss the results of your interview briefly.
B.  Find an image in the media or on the internet that you think conveys a common icon (or "frame") of scientists. E-mail the image in pdf format to by 4 PM on Thursday, Sept. 30 -- OR bring a large copy with you to the seminar, so that everyone can see it when you hold it up.

Additional references
1. National Science Board's "Science and Engineering Indicators 2002" report on Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding
2. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's publication Making Communications Connections.pdf , written by The FrameWorks Institute.
3.  Worlds Apart.pdf, by Jim Harz and Rick Chappell, discusses science and the media.
4.  Chapter 13, "Necessity's Mother" in Guns, Germs and Steel  (Jared Diamond).
5.  "The PDK Poster Project:Using Visual Means To Challenge Stereotypes, by artists Pamela Kivelson and Inga Dorosz.

From Beth 10/08: I updated the "Perceptions" presentation with a summary of our discussions, and post it here: PerceptSci
as a resource for you.  If you have anything you'd like to add, let me know.

October 15  Equity Issues in Science (Dr. Carol Johnston and Dr. Petra van Koppen)

Pre-seminar reading assignments
• The executive summary (1st 2 pages) and p. 19-29 from Education, Gender and Race, a report for the FrameWorks Institute by Meg Bostrom.

Additional assignment from Fiona 10/12/04
Please read the
Brown University Equity handbook
In class you will form small groups to discuss the following questions.
1.  Given your own experience as a student and instructor and your reading of the report on the public perceptions about who pursues science, what would you identify as three major factors that influence students to participate (or not to ) in science at the following levels?
                at the junior high level
                at the high school level
                at the college level
2. What strategies do you think would be effective for improving equity in the classroom, afterschool club or education project in which you work ?  Would you propose a different approach for certain students based on their gender, ethnicity or age?  Please explain how you would match the strategies with a specific group that you have worked with?

Additional references (Thank you, Joe Summers!)
1. Opinion article on the low representation of women in engineering by Jill Tietjen, former President of the Society of Women Engineers:
Why So Few Women, Still?
2. A report by Judy Schoenberg,commissioned by the Research Institute of the Girl Scouts:  The Girl Difference: Short-Circuiting the Myth of the Technophobic Girl

October 29  Making audio-visual presentations to non-scientists (Dr. Ali Whitmer and Dr. Satie Airame)
Pre-seminar assignment from Ali: This week we will be talking and thinking about communicating science to a public audience. Attached you'll find 4 items: a short article based on a student's thesis chapter ThesisChapter, a figure from that chapter Fig1, a set of figures from another project Fig2, and a summary describing that figure Summary.

Please read the short article and write a short summary (1-2 paragraphs) aimed at the general public. Bring this to class. Please also look at the figures and figure summary and think about what, if anything, you would change to present these figures to a general audience.

November 12 Examples of how scientists introduce the "big picture" that motivates their research
Speakers: Prof. Kevin Plaxco (Chemistry), Prof. Glenn Beltz (Mechanical Engineering), Jean Carlson (Physics) and TBA.

November 19 and December 3  
Student Presentations (All class, em-ceed by Wendy Ibsen and judged by a panel)