A Science Education Center for the Third Age

September 15th, 2009 - August 31st, 2010 | PROJECT

The National Resource Center of the 122 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLIs), in collaboration with the Exploratorium and three regional OLLI sites at California State University-East Bay, University of South Florida, and University of Missouri-Columbia, explored, via this planning grant, a variety of scenarios for engaging target audiences of "third age" (50+) participants in informal STEM learning activities. Six collaborative partnerships between OLLIs and science centers in Maine, Virginia, California, Oregon, Montana and Pennsylvania were given $1000 each to create, test, and evaluate a STEM program/activity. The collaborative projects supported by the planning grant engaged 1186 older adults in ISE activities. Data collected from the partnership projects, and from national surveys of OLLIs and science centers, from a literature search, and from a CAISE Forum discussion were used to develop a full scale proposal to NSF in 2010 to fund a national Science Education Center for the Third Age. That proposal was declined but has been significantly reworked based on reviewer feedback and further efforts of the planning team and was submitted in its new form for the January 11, 2012 ISE deadline. This new project would be a largely virtual national Center based at the University of Southern Maine. The project would include creation of an interactive website, 30 funded OLLI/ Science Center collaborative partnerships nationwide ($10,000 each to create new ISE activities for older learners), and 3 regional/national summits to share results.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products


Team Members

Kali Lightfoot, Principal Investigator, University of Southern Maine
Bette Felton, Co-Principal Investigator, National Resource Center of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Aracelis Rogers, Co-Principal Investigator, National Resource Center of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Lucille Salerno, Contact, National Resource Center of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0917496
Funding Amount: 71434


Audience: Adults | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals | Seniors
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Resource Centers and Networks