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Paper: Delivering Equitable Access to STEAM Education in the Pandemic
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 123
Authors: Sullivan, P. T.; Sparks, R.; Orchard, A.; Beuden, T.; Liston, 4. L.; Saraficio, D.
Abstract: Colors StudioLab is an ongoing STEAM and Indigenous knowledge collaboration between the National Science Foundation's NOIRLab, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) and Tohono O'odham educators. Now in its fourth year, the Colors StudioLab program weaves Tohono O'odham culture and language together with a thematic exploration of color at the intersection of art and science. Originally offered twice each summer as a weeklong academy for youth at Kitt Peak National Observatory and ASDM, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled a fundamental rethinking of the program in order to continue delivering engaging STEAM activities that diverse learners could do independently at home. In the summer of 2020, Colors StudioLab developed and distributed kits of art and science materials to youth across the Tohono O'odham Nation. To address the challenges of remote locations and limited internet access, the kits were accompanied by a series of short videos on USB drives that learners could access with their school-issued laptops. The videos were created by a multi-disciplinary team of instructors (Tohono O'odham educators, astronomers, naturalists, and artists) prompting participants to explore the colors of the universe around them from cultural, artistic, and scientific perspectives. In 2021 the project once again adapted to the changing contours of public health needs by revising the remote learning program and creating a new in-person program, Colors of the Desert StudioLab, at the Desert Museum. This program offered a modified STEAM academy, designed to deepen engagement with Tohono O'odham traditions and the abundant natural resources of the museum, while keeping participants and educators safe. This presentation will provide details about lessons learned from the first year of remote programs, and how the Colors StudioLab project evolved with the changing conditions of the pandemic to continue delivering STEAM education to diverse youth in both remote and in-person contexts.
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