As concern mounts that U.S. students lack sufficient understanding of science and related fields, it has become increasingly clear that schools can’t tackle the challenge alone. This special report explores the field often called “informal science education,” which is gaining broader recognition for its role in helping young people acquire scientific knowledge and skills. Opportunities abound outside the classroom to learn about science, and to inspire a passion for it. Zoos and science museums, robotics clubs, science competitions, and online games are just a few of the options to engage American youths. Education Week reporters examine what informal science education looks like in practice, and what we know about its impact, its potential, and the challenges it faces.
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April 19, 2011 @ 2 p.m. EDT:
Learning Science Outside the Classroom
Experts say that informal science learning is gaining wider recognition and becoming part of the national dialogue on how to advance public understanding of science. Two experts join Education Week to discuss the evolving field—what we know about its impact, what it looks like in practice, the potential, and the challenges.