Explore: Fun with Science in the Library
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The Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Explore program invites librarians to open doors to the universe to children – no prior experience in science is required! For each of eleven different Earth and space science topics, Explore provides step-by-step instructions for a selection of hands-on activities, as well as facilitator background information, correlating National Science Education Standards, and lists of related books, websites, handouts, and other resources. All materials can be accessed online for free at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/explore. The activities are featured in periodic in-person and online trainings for library professionals.
The 800 graduates of Explore trainings (from 35 states) have reported an increase in confidence in presenting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Through the training, participants gain the skills, knowledge, and virtual network of support to bring exciting, current science to their communities. They pass along an excitement for Earth and space science and exploration — especially benefitting children in rural and other underserved areas, which may lack a science center or other source for science experiences.
Quotes from Explore program facilitators, photographs of Explore activities being conducted in libraries, and survey data graphs will be presented. Data include pre/posttests about Earth and space science knowledge and surveys describing the participant’s levels of preparedness and perceived ability to lead the activities (collected during trainings and pilot tests by Explore program staff or external evaluators). Conference attendees will be invited to try an Explore activity, sign up for free upcoming online Explore trainings, and visit the Explore website.