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Paper: Lessons Learned from Cosmic Serpent: A Professional Development Project for Informal Educators on Science and Native Ways of Knowing
Volume: 443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
Page: 291
Authors: Peticolas, L. M.; Maryboy, N.; Begay, D.; Paglierani, R.; Frappier, R.; Teren, A.
Abstract: How can one engage native communities and the public alike in understanding nature and our universe? Our approach has been to bring together practitioners at informal science centers, cultural museums, and tribal museums to develop relationships cross-culturally, to learn about different ways of studying and learning about nature and our universe, and to start to develop informal education programs or exhibits at their institution through their new understandings and peer networks. The design of this National Science Foundation (NSF) grant has been to provide an initial week-long professional development workshop in a region in the Western U.S. with a follow-up workshop in that region the following year, culminating in a final conference for all participants. We focus on three regions: the southwest (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado), the northwest (Alaska, Washington, and Oregon); and California. We are in our third year of our four-year grant and have in this time organized and run three regional week-long workshops and a follow-up workshop in the southwest. We have learned many lessons through this work, including: the importance of incorporating workshop participants as presenters in the workshop agenda; how the content of astronomy, ecology, and health resonates with these museum professionals and can easily be discussed with different world views in this type of cross-cultural science education; and how to best present different ways of knowing how nature and our universe work (science) in a manner that provides a context for science educators and museum professionals. In this article, we share these and other lessons we have learned from the leadership perspective of bringing together such a diverse and under-represented-in-science group of educators.
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