Abstract # 53:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 4 (Ball Rooms A and B) Symposium

When Primatologists Go Public: Applying “Best Practices” for Informal Science Education to Teaching the General Public about Primates

D. A. Smucny
University of Maryland University College, Social Sciences, School of Undergraduate Studies, 3501 University Blvd., East, Adelphi, MD 20783, USA
     Primatologists may contribute to science Education through teaching activities geared to the general public. “Informal” science education, which occurs outside of the formal classroom, is becoming increasingly important as K-12 science curricula are affected by state and federal programs. Primatologists and other professional scientists can become involved in informal science Education in a number of roles-- working directly with students; working with teachers, supporting educational reform; or helping develop instructional materials (The National Academies of Sciences, 2005). Science education literature (e.g., Robertson, 2001) and science organizations such as National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA), Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) and Sigma Xi's Partners in Science program, all provide guidelines and examples of “best practices” for science education outreach. This presentation will (a) describe some “best teaching practices and principles” for science outreach; and (b) explore how these practices and principles may be applied to teaching the general public about primates. Through careful and thoughtful planning of informal science activities, primatologists can make primatology and science more accessible to the general public. Ref: Robertston, W. C. (2001). Community connections for science Education: Building successful partnerships. Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association Press.