New activities at the 2014 Fall Meeting included a program for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts at Exploration Station and new workshops on program evaluation and using serious games in the classroom, among other topics. In addition, the Bright Students Training as Research Scientists (Bright STaRS) program reached new milestones, with a record number of abstracts submitted (51) and its first student participation from South America.
The Fall Meeting kicked off with the Public Lecture on NASA’s MAVEN Mission to Mars. Panelists Bruce Jakosky, Roger Yelle, and Sandra Cauffman engaged an audience of more than 250 in a discussion of the MAVEN mission’s search to discover how the atmosphere of Mars has changed over time. Panelists also shared insights into the secrets of running such a complex mission.
After the Public Lecture, local students and their families went next door to Exploration Station, where enthusiastic AGU members led them in hands-on activities on volcanology, space science, hydrology, the electromagnetic spectrum, and more. For the first time, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts engaged in activities at Exploration Station booths that were framed around completing specific badge requirements, and 90 scouts participated. Overall, 975 people visited Exploration Station, a record number for this event.
On 15 December, a weeklong suite of education workshops began. New workshops on improving program evaluation, broadening participation in the geosciences, and integrating serious gaming into the classroom engaged attendees in hands-on activities, interaction, and small-group discussions. The Bright STaRS program brought middle and high school students from Vermont, Colorado, California, Chile, and Hong Kong to the meeting and set a new record, with 51 abstracts. The youngest participant was a sixth grader from Colorado who, in the Bright STaRS session on 18 December, showcased his research on using unmanned aircrafts to observe glaciers and sea ice. All of the 90 student participants enjoyed a special luncheon along with their mentors and chaperones along with AGU honorees, and AGU leaders.
Activities through AGU’s Education Department are not restricted to those who teach. Education and public outreach is a key component of any well-rounded scientist’s work, and each year at Fall Meeting, AGU offers its members many tools to increase their education and outreach skills. Visit our website to see resources from the 2014 meeting and offerings for the 2015 Fall Meeting.
By Bethany Adamec, Coordinator, Education and Public Outreach, AGU; email: [email protected]; and Pranoti M. Asher, Manager, Education and Public Outreach, AGU
Citation: Adamec, B., and P. M. Asher (2015), Scouts, students, and faculty benefit from education programs, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO023419. Published on 6 February 2015.