This Week in Informal Stem Education: Scigirls, National Library Week, NARST

April 17th, 2015

This week in informal STEM education, we highlight the launch of a new season of SciGirls, National Library Week, the AERA annual meeting, and the NARST annual meeting where Rick Duschl received their highest honor, the Distinguished Contributions award.

SciGirls and Citizen Science: Real Data, Real Kids, Real Fun

In a two-year collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and six national citizen science projects, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) is featuring citizen science on the PBS series SciGirls. In six episodes, broadcast nationally and online, middle school girls and their mentors participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s FrogWatch; the National Phenlogy Network’s Nature’s Notebook; NASA’s Cloud Observation project, S’Cool; the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Larva Monitoring Project; Cornell’s Celebrate Urban Birds (CUBS); and the Adler Planetarium’s Zooniverse project, Undersea Explorer, with the Crystal Cove Alliance. The brand-new season of the Emmy-winning show debuts April 2015 on PBS KIDS and online at

National Library Week

This week is National Library Week. Sponsored by the American Library Association, the event is an opportunity for all to promote and celebrate the contributions of libraries and librarians. NLW includes three specific and consecutive days, National Library Workers Day, National Bookmobile Day, and Celebrate Teen Literature Day. You can follow the action on Twitter via #NationalLibraryWeek, #NLWD15, #rockthedrop. In addition, the American Library Association is encouraging all to share what they’ve created at a library with the hashtag #LibraryMade. Here are some examples of library resources available on

NARST Annual Meeting and Distinguished Contributions Award for Rick Duschl

The National Association for Research in Science Teaching held its annual meeting earlier this week on the theme “Becoming Next Generation Science Educators in an Era of Global Science Education Reform”. In a strand that focused on Science Learning in Informal Contexts, Noah Feinsten presented “Climate Beyond the Curriculum: Learning About Climate Change in Informal Contexts” and Gary Holliday presented “Translating Theory into Practice in Informal Settings”. The full NARST program is available here. NARST also awarded its highest honor, the Distinguished Contributions award, to Rick Duschl. Dr. Duschl is well-known and highly regarded within the informal STEM education field. He has made distinguished and continuing contributions to science education research through his own research and synthesis activities, as well as through mentorship of graduate students and colleagues as a co-author and editor. Congratulations, Rick!

AERA Annual Meeting

The American Educational Research Association annual meeting is underway in Chicago this weekend. This year’s theme is “Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis” and is “intended to focus our attention on justice—locally as well as globally—in a spirit of mutually respectful collaborative engagement with our disciplines and modes of inquiry in the context of the world around us.” Follow the conference via Twitter at #AERA15. What are your informal science education news items from this week? Please share them in the comments below. If you have tips and leads for next week’s round-up, send them to us at