At Phoenix Comicon, I was on a panel called “Growing Up With Science.” Our goal was to suggest ways to keep kids—and particularly girls and minorities—interested in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. This post attempts to collect several of the suggested places around Arizona and New Mexico parents can take their kids to investigate these fields. The photo below is from the Phoenix Comicon photo collection and shows the panelists: Dean Frio, Martha Alice Cassetti, Karen Knierman, David Lee Summers, and Aireona Raschke.
The categories below are presented roughly in the order we presented them during the panel.
General Education Resources
School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University “is training the next generation of explorers and citizen scientists.” They offer a number of field trips, teacher workshops and partnerships with local schools, exploring astronomy and earth sciences. For more information, visit: http://sese.asu.edu/outreach
Ask a Biologist is a program at Arizona State University where kids can ask questions, access age-appropriate science articles, and interact with activities and online games. http://askabiologist.asu.edu/
Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center. Museums and visits to science facilities are a great way to interest kids in science. Kitt Peak offers year round tours and even night programs where people can observe with docents expert at interpreting the night sky. Get more information at: http://www.noao.edu/outreach/kpvc/
Lowell Observatory is a center for astronomical research and works to bring the results of that research to the general public. They have an outstanding visitor center in Flagstaff and terrific online resources at: http://lowell.edu/
Biosphere 2 serves as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. They offer guided tours to individuals and schools, plus they also offer teacher training programs. Learn more at: http://b2science.org/
Asombro Institute for Science Education works to foster an understanding of the Chihuahuan Desert through programs given to schools in Southern New Mexico and West Texas, plus programs offered at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park. Learn more at: http://www.asombro.org/
Experiences and Camps
Astronomy Camp is held each year at Kitt Peak National Observatory and run by Dr. Don McCarthy of the University of Arizona. It gives students hands on experiences in both astronomy and engineering. More information at: http://astronomycamp.org
MathMovesU is a program hosted by Raytheon which has a number of on-line activities and provides scholarships so kids can attend math and science events. http://www.mathmovesu.com/
Phoenix Zoo Camp gives kids an opportunity to spend time during summer and winter breaks at the zoo engaged in activities learning about nature and animals. More information at: http://phoenixzoo.org/camps-programs/camp-zoo/
Young Women in Computing is a camp hosted by the computer science department at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. In addition to the camp itself, they host after school programs, contests, and teacher-program collaborations. They work not only with young women, but young men as well. Get more information at: https://sites.google.com/site/ywicnm/
Citizen Science Projects
Citizen science projects are projects where you can contribute to projects and discoveries. Generally, you are given an on-line tutorial for the project then taken to a set of data that requires analysis. This is a great way for both adults and kids to contribute to real, on-going science projects.
Zooniverse is a literal clearing house of citizen science projects that can be done from your home computer with an internet connection. The projects range from astronomy, to biology, to climate. Find a project and get involved at: www.zooniverse.org
Amazing Space uses the Hubble Space Telescope’s discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe. http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/
Gila Monsters at Saguaro National Park is a program where people can report Gila Monster sightings in and around Saguaro National Park and help preserve these amazing animals. http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/gila-monsters-at-saguaro-national-park
McDowell Mountains Citizen Science Program is the steward program that supports the McDowell Sonoran Field Institute by training and deploying volunteers on the various research projects. The program offers opportunities to Conservancy stewards as well as students and community volunteers. Get details at: http://www.mcdowellsonoran.org/content/pages/citizenScienceProgram#sthash.C1Eu2uUO.tvY4etUl.dpuf