Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Share Your Science with Today's Teachers, Tomorrow's Scientists

The American Geophysical Union invites members to participate in Exploration Station and the Geophysical Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshop.


Are you interested in fostering the next generation of Earth and space scientists? Two fun opportunities to share your science with children, parents, and teachers are coming up at the 2015 Fall Meeting. One is a Sunday afternoon spread of hands-on, kid-oriented science exhibits and activities, called Exploration Station. The other is a weekday training seminar, known as the Geophysical Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshop, in which scientists like yourself share the ins and outs of your field with a classroom full of talented K–12 educators.

Both offer great opportunities to get your research out there and to hone your communication skills. These events are part of the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Sharing Science program, which helps scientists engage a broad audience in Earth and space science. By participating, you’ll learn how to better present technical material in a way that the general public can understand, and you’ll help close the gap between what you do as a scientist and the public’s understanding of science. What’s more, these programs are just plain fun!

Exploration Station Draws Crowds

Do you like working with children? Create an exhibit and help involve kids in hands-on activities at Exploration Station. Open to the public, this event attracts local San Francisco families and teachers, as well as Fall Meeting attendees and their families. Visitors enjoy giveaways, demonstrations, and immersive activities. Exploration Station attendance more than doubled last year to nearly 1000 visitors; we expect this year to be even better. Past Exploration Stations featured stomp rockets, iPad apps, and a planetarium. Last year, the event also included, for the first time, a set of activities meant to appeal particularly to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. They had a great time working with scientists to complete merit badge requirements. This year, we will again include activities geared to scouts. To become an exhibitor, read our FAQs and register by 21 August. Exploration Station will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, 13 December.

Enduring Impact

Sarah Bartholow (right), education project manager for PolarTREC, speaks with an AGU member at the 2014 GIFT Workshop. Credit: Karna Kurata
Sarah Bartholow (right), education project manager for PolarTeachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating (PolarTREC), speaks with an educator at the 2014 GIFT Workshop. Credit: Karna Kurata

If you want to have more clout in K–12 science classrooms, pair with an expert educator at the 2015 GIFT Workshop and share your knowledge there. Selected scientists will present classroom activities and resources that bring students a step closer to the cutting edge of scientific research. The impact doesn’t stop at the workshop: Attendees range from public school teachers to informal educators, so information will disseminate through multiple avenues. Materials will remain online afterward in the form of Live Education Activity Resource Network (LEARN) videos. Check out videos from past workshops on the LEARN site, such as one about making predictions about Yellowstone National Park volcanoes and another about a game exploring pollination. If you have ideas to share and would like to present, please submit an application by 31 August. The 2015 GIFT Workshop will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, 14 December, and Tuesday, 15 December. New this year, each team of presenters receives one free full-week registration to Fall Meeting, to be used by one member of the presenting team.

Newcomers Welcome

These events grow larger each year, and AGU is always happy to have new scientists get involved and share their passion for Earth and space science. The interaction of scientists with Exploration Station and GIFT Workshop attendees empowers teachers and students. It also strengthens the impact of science professionals. As one 2013 GIFT Workshop teacher put it, the AGU Fall Meeting provided an “excellent opportunity for teachers to connect with research scientists.” For this educator, the experience made the Fall Meeting that year “second to none.”

—Victoria Anania, AGU Education Intern; email: [email protected]

Citation: Anania, V. (2015), Share your science with today’s teachers, tomorrow’s scientists, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO033041. Published on 22 July 2015.

© 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0