Posters from the 2014 AISL PI Meeting

poster session

August 27th, 2014

From August 20th-22nd, CAISE convened the 2014 Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Principal Investigators (PI) Meeting in Washington, DC. This meeting brought together more than 250 representatives from the diverse informal STEM learning field, including PIs and project staff from active AISL projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), evaluators, researchers, directors of education & outreach, program officers, and other stakeholders.

Each project was asked to prepare a poster for the meeting, which were shared during poster sessions on Thursday, August 21st. Posters are a way to share a snapshot of information about a project, and answer key questions of interest to attendees, including:

  • Who has been involved in the project?
  • Who are the audiences addressed?
  • What research questions and/or problems of practice were addressed?
  • What challenges have been encountered?
  • How has the project been evaluated, and what has the evaluation revealed (if applicable)?

All projects are encouraged to submit their posters to as “Conference Proceedings” under the Research tab. Below are all posters that have been submitted to the site to date. The posters have been organized by Learning Environment type in accordance with the Informal Commons metadata standard that organizes records in the resource collection. In order to view any poster on this list, click on the title of the project to open its record, then click on the Document Link at the bottom of each record to access the poster file.

We will update this blog post as additional posters are submitted. If you have any questions about submitting posters, please email Digital Librarian Grace Troxel.

Media & Technology

3-D Visualization Tools for Enhancing Awareness, Understanding, and Stewardship of Freshwater Ecosystems: This poster describes a project that studies how 3-D visualizations can most effectively be used to improve public understanding of freshwater lake ecosystems and earth science processes.

Advancing Informal STEM Learning Through Scientific Alternate Reality Games: This project aims to conduct research on the design and development of two large-scale Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) based on deep-time science in astrobiology, astrophysics and interplanetary space travel.

Badges for College Credit (BCC): Motivating Learning in Informal Science Programs through a Digital Badge System: This poster describes the first year partnership to design and implement a social networking platform and digital badges with two science center programs.

Enhancing Climate Change Communication between Broadcast Meteorologists and Viewing Audiences: This project seeks to improve public engagement in climate communication by broadcast meteorologists, using scientific methods to identify probable causes for their skepticism and/or reticence, and to test the efficacy of proposed solutions.

GrACE: This project aims to teach computational thinking and fostering computer science attitude change among middle school students through a procedurally generated puzzle game.

Little Green Men: Little Green Men is a documentary film about the Pulsar Search Collaboratory. The project includes related programming to be used both in the classroom and in diverse settings throughout the community.

Lost Ladybug Project: The Lost Ladybug Project (LLP) is a Cornell University citizen science project that connects science to education by using ladybugs to teach non-scientists concepts of biodiversity, invasive species, and conservation.

Making Space Social: Exploring the Education Potential of the Facebook Social Network: This poster describes an astronomy game for Facebook and the accompanying research questions, which opus on the effects of the social network in meeting education goals, viral spread, cooperative play, and discussions about the game and underlying content in associated online forums.

National Geographic FieldScope: The goal of FieldScope is to create a single, powerful infrastructure for Public Participation in Science Research (PPSR) projects that any organization can use to create their own project and support their own community of participants.

PBS Newshour: STEM Learning for Adults, Teens, and At-Risk Populations: The PBS NewsHour STEM Learning project is a broadcast and online science journalism and informal science education initiative to report breaking science news and cutting-edge STEM research and researchers to a national audience.

PEEP and the Big Wide World: PEEP and the Big Wide World is a fully bilingual website (in Spanish and English) containing 120 animated stories and live-action video segments; 21 online games; 120 offline “Anywhere Science and Math” activities for families; an extensive curriculum for preschool educators; and 14 Android and iOS mobile apps for kids.

Peg + Cat: Early Learning of Math Through Media: This research and development project explores the mechanisms that initiate and support innovation in early childhood education, especially by combining informal learning via public media and technology with teacher and family interactions to maximize children’s math learning.

Relating Research to Practice: Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) creates and shares research briefs for informal educators.

Science Source Pathways Project: This project highlights the goals, audience, outcomes, and lessons learned for a pathways project to develop a model for producing scientific news reports in a variety of media formats on a range of topics of keen interest to rural and Native American communities in Montana. This project project that uses out-of-home (OHM) media to improve the public understanding of science. It features multimedia installations located in public spaces such as Boston’s T.

Scientific Storytelling: A CCI Informal Education Partnership: This project includes radio and stage storytelling programs undertaken by the Center for Chemical Evolution, a Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) jointly funded by NSF and NASA.

SciGirls Season 2: Website, TV Show and Outreach: This poster discusses the second season of SciGirls, a multimedia project designed to encourage and empower more girls to pursue careers in STEM.

SciGirls Season 3: “Citizen SciGirls” Transmedia and Research to Encourage Girls in STEM: This poster presents the programs in production for Season Three of SciGirls, a series of six episodes following groups of girls and their mentors as they take part in citizen science projects.

Time Team America: Archaeology as a Gateway to Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics: The Time Team America project’s goal is to engage public audiences with the scientific process, STEM concepts, and STEM careers through the excitement of and active participation in archaeology.

Youth Radio NEXT Innovation Lab: This project targets underserved youth who will collaborate with STEM professionals to co-create community-relevant technology and media content creating a potentially scalable model.

Public Educational Programs

Ain’t No River Wide Enough: Citizen Scientists Explore the Rio Grande de Manati: This project includes multiple citizen science programs in the Rio Grande de Manati watershed, taking participants through the participatory, collaborative, and co-creative phases of informal science education.

The Art of Science Learning: This project project that creates incubators composed of community members to foster innovative, arts-based solutions to regional challenges.

BioTrails: DNA-assisted Species Identification for Citizen Science: The goal of this project is to establish practices for combining public participation in scientific research (citizen science) with DNA-based species identification (DNA barcoding) to scale-up and improve the accuracy of research projects that monitor animal and plant species in the sea and on land as they respond to climate and environmental changes.

CCI Solar and the West Side Science Club: This partnership brings science activities derived from the Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) Solar’s cutting edge research on converting solar energy into stored chemical fuel to under-resourced middle school students in Los Angeles.

Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool (CHISPA): CHISPA is designed to engage Hispanic students in grades K-5 in STEM in afterschool programs within community-based organizations (CBOs).

Citizen Science Sparks Independent Scientific Investigations: This project in Minnesota is training leaders of youth groups to use citizen science experiences to stimulate curiosity and inspire motivation to design and carry out scientific research projects.

CoCoRaHs (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network): The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network is a backyard citizen science project that is enhancing the research efforts of scientists and promoting climate literacy among the public by engaging volunteers in precipitation-monitoring activities.

Contrasting Mountain Systems: In this NSF International Research Experiences for Students project, college students will travel to the Altai Republic and work with faculty and students at Gorno-Altaisk University to conduct research related to native language use in learning ecological sciences in informal settings.

Cyberlaboratory: Building Infrastructure, Knowledge and Capacity in Informal Science Education Research: This project aims to design, develop, implement, research, and evaluate a cyberlaboratory in a museum setting.

EESIP (Exploring Engagement and Science Identity through Participation): “EESIP”, a collaborative research project between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and UC Davis, is aimed at Exploring Engagement and Science Identity through Participation in citizen science.

Forest Science Dialogues: This project develops and tests mechanisms for dialogue-based engagement between ecosystem scientists and local citizens in the rural Northeast.

Fusion Science Theater: The Fusion Science Theater (FST) model directly engages children in playful, participatory, and inquiry-based science learning of chemistry and physics topics.

Generations of Knowledge: This project engages underserved Native and non-native youth and adults in environmental science content and awareness through innovative exhibitions and hands-on activities.

Herpetology Education in Rural Places & Spaces: The HERPS project creates experiences in herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) for rural underrepresented groups.

iCaLL: Indianapolis/City as a Living Laboratory: This city-wide civic collaboration engages in cross-sector research that builds on prior research in informal science learning in public settings.

Informal Community Science Investigators (iCSI): iCSI uses location-based augmented reality games on smartphones to engage youth in activities developed by informal science institutions.

Informal Education with Arachnids: This project that takes advantage of the charismatic nature of arachnids to engage the public in scientific inquiry, dialogue, and exploration through public programs at museums and science centers.

iSWOOP (Interpreters and Scientists Working on Our Parks): This collaborative project’s goals are to derive a mechanism to educate National Park Service personnel so they can respond to visitors’ questions about data gathered and interesting STEM features found in national parks.

KC Empower: Universal Access to After-School STEM: KC Empower explores afterschool science for children with disabilities.

Marcellus Matters: Engaging Adults in Science and Energy (EASE): This project targets adult residents in north, central and western Pennsylvania who are affected by the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation. The project provides four entry points for citizens of rural Pennsylvania to engage in learning about energy, its needs in the Nation, the economics behind these needs, the geology of the shale deposit and how to have productive discussions and make decisions using science-based evidence.

Merlin: An Online Wizard for Bird ID: Merlin is an online citizen science tool for identifying birds.

My Sky Tonight: My Sky Tonight introduces preschool-aged children to astronomy.

Over, Under, and Through: Students Informally Discover the Environment: This outdoor informal science learning project trains volunteer naturalists to lead environmental programs for middle school students.

Project SOS: The Science of Sustainability: This project connects rural, underserved youth and families in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho to STEM concepts important in sustainable building design.

Project STEAM: Integrating Art with Science to Build Science Identities Among Girls: Project STEAM aims to inspire art-interested girls to enter STEM careers through a series of activities, including summer academies that explore the biology and physics of color, science café-style presentations that feature the overlap between art and science, and the development of “kits” that can be used in informal and formal venues (Girl Scouts, science centers, and K-12 classrooms).

SCIENCES – Supporting a Community’s Informal Education Needs: Confidence and Empowerment in STEM: The project creates a STEM ecosystem in a severely under-resourced urban community. The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, is expanding a community partnership with Eden Place Nature Center in Chicago’s Fuller Park Neighborhood and offering a full suite of environmental science learning opportunities for teachers, youth, families, and adults.

Scientists for Tomorrow: This poster describes the three-year development and implementation of Scientists for Tomorrow, including its next steps in creating the Scientists for Tomorrow National Alliance.

Sparks of Discovery: A midpoint progress poster on the Sparks of Discovery Project, which connects UW-Madison NSF researchers to produce interdisciplinary science investigations that will be/have been implemented in a number of settings, including participants from underrepresented groups in science.

STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net): This project developed two interactive traveling exhibits hosted by 19 libraries, active learning resources, online and in-person workshops, and an online community of librarians and STEM professionals.

Techbridge: This broad implementation project scales up a tested multi-faceted model that increases girls’ interest in STEM careers.

Through My Window: This collaborative project between Smith College and Springfield Technical Community College seeks to improve technical literacy for children in the area of engineering education through the Talk to Me (TTM) website.

Water for Life: This project uses youth and community programs to promote freshwater literacy and water conservation in the South Pacific.

Professional Development, Conferences, & Networks

Afterschool Science Networks Study: This poster describes a project that uses social network methods to study networks of afterschool and informal science stakeholders.

Building Informal Science Education (BISE): The BISE project has coded more than 500 evaluation reports on and developed related resources for the informal STEM learning field.

Communities of Learning for Urban Environments and Science: The CLUES project provides STEM education opportunities to families.

InforMath: Through sustained collaborations that unite research, design, and professional development, members of the InforMath Collaborative are conducting design-based research on exhibits and programs that integrate art and science content from participating museums with the mathematics of topology and projective geometry.

Intersections: Building Informal Science Education and Literacy Partnerhips: Intersections is a collaboration between the National Writing Project (NWP) and Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) that integrates science and literacy.

National Living Lab: This national network uses the living laboratory model of informal cognitive science education to establish additional museum hubs.

National Center for Blind Youth in Science: This project from the National Federation of the Blind increases informal STEM learning opportunities for blind and visually impaired youth.

Native Universe: Native Universe is a professional development collaborative research project to explore commonalities between native and western science, infusing an indigenous voice into programs and exhibits focused on environmental change.

Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net): Four posters describe nearly a decade of work undertaken by NISE Net to develop resources for learning about nanoscale science in informal environments.

The Science Festival Alliance: This poster details the accomplishments of the Science Festival Alliance, a professional network of individuals and institutions designed to increase the capacity to develop and implement large scale community science festivals.

Setting the Agenda for Giant Screen Research Workshop: This conference began the process of developing a set of research questions for STEM giant screen films and their effects on cognition.

STEM Guides: Building Coherent Infrastructure in Rural Communities: This poster describes a project in Maine to derive and develop an educational model for informal science learning in rural areas where ISE venues are nonexistent.


Augmented Reality for Interpretive & Experiential Learning (ARIEL): The ARIEL project developed a cyberlearning exhibit using augmented and virtual reality.

Bruce and Rosa go to Coney Island: This Communicating Research to Public Audiences grant project that created underwater robotic fish exhibits.

Designing Our World: This project uses museum-based exhibits, girls’ activity groups, and social media to enhance participants’ engineering-related interests and identities.

Exhibit Designs for Girls’ Engagement: This poster describes the research, the research questions, the steps we are taking to answer those questions, our audience and deliverables, and the challenges that project designers have faced in the first year.

Exploring Public Engagement with Real-Time Experimentation in Different Public Venues: This EAGER project conducts ongoing experiments on the chemical precursors to life as exhibit experiences in partner venues.

From the Lab to the Neighborhood: This project seeks to develop and study a model that would integrate the science research on urban systems into science museum exhibits and programs, starting in this phase in a new “City Science” exhibit space at the EcoTarium. The goal is to learn how to assist citizens in decision-making and shaping a sustainable future for their communities.

An Indoor Positioning System (IPS) for Informal Learning Experiences: This poster summarizes the first year of a two-year project looking at using an indoor positioning system to (1) automate the collection of timing and tracking data for visitor research and (2) enable location-aware applications that enhance the visitor experience inside a museum.

Molecule Magic: This collaboration between chemists and the Liberty Science Center created a user-friendly chemistry interactive on a multitouch table.

Places of Invention: Places of Invention at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center features an interactive Invent Town area and five stories about “hot spots” of invention from the mid-19th century to the present, each providing hands-on experiences that relate to particular “21st Century skills” and to the social, psychological, and spatial dimensions of invention, science, and engineering.

Prairie Science: The Prairie Science project is about facilitating learning STEM concepts by integrating a historical perspective (Conner Prairie Museum) and a science center-based perspective (Science Museum of Minnesota).

ResearchLink: Spotlight on Solar Technologies: This collaborative effort between scientists at Portland State University (PSU) and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) creates exhibits and public programs related to the science behind solar energy, its measurements, and uses.

Researching the Value of Educator Actions on Learning (REVEAL): This poster for the REVEAL project describes its goals, which are to develop a theoretical understanding of staff-mediated mathematical discourse at exhibits, and to better understand how museum educators and exhibits can foster families’ engagement in mathematical discourse related to algebraic thinking.

Science on the Move: Everyday Encounters with Science: This poster describes an exhibit developed for bus transit stations designed to reach underrepresented groups in Portland.

Sustainability: Promoting Sustainable Decision Making: This project created a bilingual exhibit and surrounding activities to explore the concept of sustainability.

K-12 & Higher Education Programs

Making Natural Connections: This project is a series of two field-based informal science education programs in environmental biology targeting St. Louis area teenagers.

Metaphor-Based Learning of Physics Concepts Through Whole-Body Interaction in a Mixed Reality Science Center Exhibit: This project seeks to understand the effects of interactive and immersive environments on the learning of science concepts in informal settings, specifically the role of embodied interactions and whether cueing students to physically enact critical ideas in physics will support middle school students’ learning, engagement, and identification with science.

The Science of Sharing: This poster describes the work accomplished by August 2014 for the NSF-funded project “Science of Sharing: Investigating Cooperation, Competition, and Social Interdependence.”

SENCER-ISE: Expanding on the encouraging outcomes of an NSF-funded conference, this three-year project explores and evaluates ways to support new collaborations between professionals in institutions of higher education and informal STEM education around areas of common interest.

SUNY/NYAS STEM Mentoring Program Statewide Scale Up Project: The State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) are collaborating to implement the SUNY/NYAS STEM Mentoring Program, a full scale development project designed to improve the science and math literacy of middle school youth.

Using Science Academies (USA) Project: USA is a two-year Pathways project designed to examine the feasibility of using informal STEM learning opportunities to improve science literacy among English Language Learner (ELL) students in Imperial County, California.