National Science Foundation
Bringing Science to a Neighborhood Near You
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Los Angeles CSW director Darin Gray helps a young Houston student make a pendulum.

Credit: CSW
Permission Granted
State: Massachusetts

Community Science Workshops (CSW): Beginning a National Movement is an innovative project that brings science to socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Its efforts target African-American, Hispanic and Native American children in grades K-8 and their families. CSWs have demonstrated their ability to serve large numbers of youth, approximately 50,000 per year in afterschool programs alone; provide long-term support for participants; create multi-faceted science-focused programming that serves youth, parents and teachers in creative and appropriate ways; and generate sufficient financial resources to become self-sustaining.

The project supports the development of neighborhood-specific, small-scale science centers that promote inquiry-based science learning. Each CSW partners with established museums, community organizations, and science centers. This successful model began to take shape in California with a previous award which funded sites that are still thriving in San Francisco (3), Fresno (2), Los Angeles (8), Oakland (2), San Jose and Watsonville ( section.php?sitename=csw&id=116). Evaluation of the earlier project showed that 43 percent of youth spent up to 50 hours at a CSW site, while 36percent spent 100-500 hours or more. By the end of the first project, nearly 100,000 youth were participating in CSW activities annually.

The national project is designed to disseminate the model across the United States. For example, new community science workshops have been established in Washington, DC - Columbia Heights CSW in partnership with the Latin American Youth Center and the Smithsonian Institution; Houston, Texas at Edison Middle School in collaboration with the Children's Museum of Houston and the Houston Independent School District; New Orleans, La. in partnership with My House, Inc., the Audubon Zoo, and the New Orleans Center for Science and Math; and Miami, Fla. in collaboration with the Citizens for a Better South in Florida. Additional CSWs are planned for Newark, NJ, Boston, MA, Chicago, IL and San Juan, PR.

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Two young participants at Coop Elementary School in Houston watch a battery-powered car race inside the SciencMobile.

Credit: CSW
Permission Granted
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ScienceMobile participants show their enthusiasm for robots at RP Harris Elementary School in Houston.

Credit: CSW
Permission Granted

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