Communicating Science to the Public
3:55 End of Workshop Evaluation
We sampled four PoPNet professional development elements. The full PoPNet Implementation Manual is available for purchase. The activities we used are listed below. These materials are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation.
- Making Meaning (Acrobat (PDF) 4.6MB Aug25 17) - Draw on existing experience to think, pair, share about what makes a learning experience meaningful. A great icebreaker! We did this informally while I prepared extra materials for the following activity, due to our great turnout.
- Building a Common Vision (Acrobat (PDF) 1.2MB Aug25 17) - Explore learning and communication styles by explaining a picture for others to draw, in groups of three. Identify "expert blind spots."
- What's In a Word? (Acrobat (PDF) 660kB Aug25 17) - Identify jargon and useful alternatives.
- Concept Mapping (Acrobat (PDF) 1.3MB Aug25 17) - Brainstorm what about your research will be most interesting and relevant to non-experts. We went over this only to introduce the activity. This activity is geared toward creating an interactive activity based on your research to share with the public, but can also serve to pull out your main concepts for a presentation or any other interaction.
We went over one UNAVCO professional development activity, given below. For worksheets on preparing for poster presentations, creating a social media strategy, and creating an elevator speech for networking at meetings, as well as recommended improv games, check out the UNAVCO Science Communication page.
I recommend giving students/participants 5-10 minutes to go through the entire worksheet, then having everyone get up and go through multiple rounds of practice—at least three! I give five seconds to find a new partner, 30 seconds per partner to give the elevator speech, and two minutes for feedback. You can specify the audience as a scientific peer, non-expert public, policy maker, etc. It's fast and fun and participants generally say their speech gets smoother, and gives them an opportunity to get to know the other people in the room.