Explore

Overview
Program Element / Activity Title:
Explore
E/PO Project Name:
Explore
Contact Information:
Explore
Department of Education and Public Outreach
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston TX 77058
explore@lpi.usra.edu
Program Element / Activity Website:
Short Description:

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has trained nearly 1000 librarians and other community educators to bring Earth and space science and engineering to their youth programs through its Explore program. Over the course of its 15-year history, Explore has reached 35 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Explore was originally funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has since grown to encompass NASA missions and ongoing science, as well as additional NSF projects. 

Program Element / Activity Image / Visual:
During a 2010 training, Deborah Kassner, Youth Services Specialist at Albany County Public Library (Laramie, WY), explored how to recreate the appearance of the Moon in the sky with a Styrofoam ball, pencil, and sunlight.
Program Element / Activity Status
Please list products / materials that will result / have resulted from this program element / activity:
Name: Life on Mars?
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/LifeOnMars/
Status: Completed
Name: Marvel Moon
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/marvelMoon/
Status: Completed
Name: Jupiter's Family Secrets
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/solar_system/
Status: Completed
Name: Ice Worlds!
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/ice/credits/
Status: Internal Review
Name: Mars: Inside and Out
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/mars/
Status: Internal Review
Name: Health in Space
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/space_health/
Status: Completed
Name: To the Moon and Beyond - with NASA's LRO Mission
URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/LRO/
Status: Completed
Audience Metrics
Who is the primary audience of your program element / activity?:
Who is the secondary audience of your program element / activity?:
Evaluation
National Priorities and Coordination Approaches as Articulated in CoSTEM:
  • Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
  • Better Serve Groups Historically Under-represented in STEM Fields
What are the goals and objectives of your program element / activity?:
Explore goals and objectives include:


Goal: Explore aims to provide the content knowledge, skills, and materials that librarians need to engage and inspire library patrons in current explorations of Earth and our solar system, thus bringing the excitement and opportunities of NASA and the broader science and engineering professions to young people across the nation.

Objectives

• With input from library and STEM professionals, develop Earth and space science and engineering activities characterized as
o Active
o Simple steps to follow
o Flexible
o Relying on inexpensive materials
o Relating to emerging Earth and space science and engineering
o Bolstering classroom concepts and practices
• Develop and distribute online and material resources, such as
o Hands-on activity procedures
o Supporting media lists
o Facilitator background information
o Implementation suggestions
o Program support resources (customizable flyers, PowerPoint files, press releases)
• Through in-person trainings, increase the confidence, self-reported ability, level of preparedness, and intention to use Explore activities and supporting resources of library staff.
• Through online trainings, increase awareness, the level of preparedness, and intention to use Explore activities and supporting resources of library staff.
• Communicate national and regional STEM education news, resources, and opportunities to library staff.

Intended outcomes

• Library staff facilitate active Earth and space science and engineering experiences for children, youth, and families.
• LPI receives feedback about educational approaches, online and material resources, and trainings methods from library staff.
• Children, tweens, and the older teens and community members that support them (i.e. parents, siblings, mentors) are engaged in active learning in Earth and space science and engineering
• Patrons access the library’s STEM resources (e.g. books; online access to STEM websites; community collaborators, such as STEM educators and professionals).
• Libraries attract new audiences (e.g. tweens) to and support new interactions (e.g. father-daughter) at library programs.
• LPI E/PO products and practices continue to innovatively support the provision of exciting, current STEM experiences.
What are the main impacts of your effort to date and how do they correlate to the project's goals and objectives:
A follow-up survey of the Explore community was conducted in spring 2013, and the 168 respondents indicated that
 86% are actively using Explore materials
~60% implement Explore activities on a regular basis  
Compared to their perceptions from before participating in Explore:
Over 50% feel more prepared to offer science and engineering experiences and more comfortable using related resources — and they are more likely to lead science and engineering programs themselves (instead of hiring others)
60% are very committed to providing science and engineering experiences for their visitors (compared to 16% before the training)
Over 75% are more likely to advocate for including science and engineering in the programs offered at their facilities
Have your evaluation findings / impacts been published? If so, where?:
LaConte, K., Halligan, E., Shipp, S. (2013) Explore: Fun with Science in the Library, presented at the 2013 American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, June 27-July 2, 2013.