Ideas & Resources
On these pages, you’ll find resources to help you begin or maintain a scientist-educator partnership. The resources were chosen with the scientist in mind, but most will be helpful to K-12 teachers and administrators, as well as institutional outreach support teams. The list is not meant to be exhaustive. The goal is to give you a good sense of the available types of funding sources, programs, and resources. It should help you conduct searches if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for at these websites. If you can’t find something or have any questions about partnerships please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a scientist, you may be both comfortable with and effective at communicating science to your peers. However, when it comes to the public, reporters, or elected officials, most scientists have difficulty communicating science effectively. Even if we manage to use a vocabulary accessible to most, we often become engrossed in interesting but irrelevant details. We forget that while facts drive our world, others may relate better to anecdotes and examples. Learning to blend the two effectively is an art, but with a little effort, virtually everyone can learn how to do it.
Remember, using a common language is essential. Trying to impress people with your knowledge is counterproductive. Not only will you not be understood, but you may also be viewed as arrogant and convey the message that understanding is science beyond the reach of most people.
Also, try not to be too long-winded. Fifty-minute PowerPoint presentations will probably put an audience of parents to sleep. A reporter on a deadline won't have time to hear the esoteric details of your research. The school board has eight other agenda items and really can only allot you 10 minutes.
Resources for Communicating Science
The resources listed below are designed to make you a more effective communicator. While most address interactions with “nonscientists,” the principles apply equally well to communications with your peers. If you apply them uniformly, you’ll see improvements in your technical speaking and writing, too.
A Public Relations Guide for Local Sections
Communicating Science News
Open-Access Journals on Communicating Science
Communicating Astronomy with the Public
Journal of Science Communication
Helping the Public Understand Science
Two types of sites are listed below. You can use them for information yourself, but they are also good sites for students and the public to peruse. Some explain what science is, what scientists do, and how science is relevant to their lives. Others provide information on topics that are of widespread interest in the public.
Animals in Research
Breakthroughs in Bioscience
Findings (Evolutionary Theme Issue)
I Don't Know What to Believe …
National Institutes of Health, Office of Science Education
Stem Cell Information
This Is Science