FEST Families Exploring Science Together

June 1st, 2005 | EVALUATION

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), four Philadelphia area museums: New Jersey State Aquarium, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, and the Philadelphia Zoo - collaborated to develop Families Exploring Science Together (FEST), a four-year program designed to provide science experiences that stimulate, encourage, and enrich families' interest, involvement, and learning in science. The museums partnered with community-based organizations in culturally diverse neighborhoods in the Philadelphia/Camden region to offer families a variety of science activities designed to increase their levels of involvement and participation in science and science museums. FEST activities ranged from introductory museum experiences to in-depth science inquiry activities, including four different types of programs: Orientations (events that were hosted by a community partner and were meant to introduce community partner families to the four museums and the FEST program itself); Family Science Events (structured, roughly four-hour-long open houses, offered exclusively to participating FEST families to introduce them to the museums and their resources for family science learning at one of the four area museums); Family Workshops (one- to two-hour-long workshops on a specific science topic); and Special Projects (all-day workshops that enabled families to explore a specific science topic in great depth). The Institute for Learning Innovation (the Institute), an Annapolis, MD-based, not-for-profit learning research and development organization, provided comprehensive evaluation support for FEST, coordinating both formative and summative evaluations over the first three years of the project and conducting additional research in Year 4. This report summarizes the summative evaluation findings for this project, drawing on data collected during Years 2, 3, and 4 of the project.



Team Members

Lynn Dierking, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
New Jersey State Aquarium, Contributor
Martin Storksdieck, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
Susan Foutz, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
Kate Haley Goldman, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
Melissa Wadman, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
Cheryl Kessler, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9901961
Funding Amount: 957158

Related URLs

Families Exploring Science Together


Audience: Evaluators | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Programs | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Public Programs