Yr2: Intersections

Project: Research project


Intersections 2013-2014 Request for Proposals Arizona Science Center& Central Arizona Writing Project Narrative: The Arizona Science Center (ASC) and the Central Arizona Writing Project (CAWP) have created a formal partnership through the Intersections Project to launch a joint program on science literacy for informal and formal educators in Phoenix, Arizona. The ASC and CAWP are dedicated to the success of all students, teachers, parents, and community members in the greater Phoenix area, including those who learn and work in ethnically and linguistically diverse and under-resourced communities and may not otherwise have access to vibrant science literacy programs. The Intersections project provides a timely and much needed avenue for increasing access to science, learning, and literacy and for addressing a problem that is unique to Phoenix, Arizona. Within the greater Phoenix area, there is so much potential in terms of diversity, ecosystem, climate, sustainability, and community. However, much of Phoenixs urban population is not native to Arizona and many Phoenicians do not identify with the local context or feel connected to their community. The fact that people in our area often have a hard time investing their efforts in a place they do not consider their home has implications for teaching in formal and informal settings. Formal and informal educators in the greater Phoenix area need more support to find ways to personally connect and to connect their students to the place they live through science and literacy. We plan to design and implement an Advanced Institute on Science and Writing for Arizona Science Center informal educators and Central Arizona Writing Project K-12 formal educators to support educators in using science and writing to form bridges from their own lived and local experience to their local environment. The audience/user for this project is local formal and informal educators. Our ASC/CAWP leadership team are designing and planning to implement an Advanced Institute on Science and Writing for the 2013-2014 academic year for formal and informal educators to integrate science and literacy with an eye on the local community. We plan to design a sustainable model of professional development that invites educators to engage with the ASC and Arizona State University through writing to understand science concepts in a local context. This project is designed as an Advanced Institute, modeled after the National Writing Projects institutes for classroom teachers. This project will focus on a core group of 8 formal and informal educators. The formal educators will be CAWP or NWP fellows, meaning they will have each completed an Invitational Summer Institute, and will apply to participate. The informal educators will be ASC staff and volunteers, who are all informal educators in some capacity, and will apply to participate in this Advanced Institute. The goal for the Advanced Institute is to pair these educators from diverse backgrounds and who serve diverse populations to investigate, through science and writing, the diversity, ecosystem, climate, sustainability, and community of our local area. The pairing of formal and informal educators from science and non-science backgrounds is integral to investigating science broadly through writing. Therefore, the 2 Advanced Institute will encourage inquiry and writing about science in the local community. To encourage this sense of inquiry, we will invite the informal and formal educators to select a scientific concept stemming from an initial visit to the ASC to guide their writing and science discovery work. The educators will be encouraged to apply the science concept of their choice to their local environment or community. These connections may occur via extensions beyond the institute -- in the form of additional research, interviews, etc. -- or within the institute group -- in the form of discussions or writing with other educators. Finally, the participants will develop writing examining the science concept and its relation to the local context. The formal and informal educators will also collect writing (across genres and disciplines) from local Arizona authors to serve as mentor texts for their own written work and to serve as a collection of resources and invitations for informal and formal educators to use with future student groups. As the Advanced Institute works to revise and craft a piece of writing about their exploration of a local science concept, these writing contributions will be made public using a Google Earth Map and shared at a public reading at the ASC. The combination of scientific concepts, local contexts, and writing truly position this project as one on the intersections of science and literacy. Our earlier project ideas included: 1) a blog project in which ASC educators worked to create blog entries based on scientific concepts, 2) a project where ASC educators worked to create scripts for the public in a replicable format, and 3) a narrative science writing project for ASC educators and, possibly, CAWP teacher consultants. While each of these projects had the potential to develop into successful and engaging projects occurring at the intersections of science and literacy, we struggled with ways to make the projects truly address a local problem or address the needs of both of our educational programs and educators. We ultimately came up with an idea that integrates the expertise of the ASC and CAWP leadership team and also allows participants to truly collaborate and learn from one another. The project described above combines our interest in intersections of narratives and literacies of science with writing in a way that is meaningful for both ASC and CAWP. Furthermore, the local aspect of this project distinguished it from others we had considered. We see great potential in drawing from and adding to existing local resources that document the unique possibilities at the intersections of science and literacy in the greater Phoenix area. In the short term, our desired outcomes are to build a community of formal and informal educators committed to investigating the intersections of science and literacy in our local context. We hope that educators will learn from each other and will participate actively in the face-to-face and online meetings and that each will engage in meaningful inquiry surrounding the intersections of science and literacy in our local area. Finally, we hope that all of the educators will produce at least one piece of writing documenting or reflecting on their inquiry to be shared at the final public event. In the long term, we hope that the work of the Advanced Institute will aid us in developing curricular materials, appropriate for both informal and formal educators, to sustain the project beyond the first year and to have a broad impact. Moreover, it is our hope that the work in the first year will inspire a vision for work in the second year of grant funding. This work may include further use or development of the curricular materials or expansion of the project to groups beyond the initial group, including students.
Effective start/end date10/1/149/30/15


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $30,010.00


urban population
educational program