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Abstract Title: Conceptual Design of Informal Physics Programs
Abstract: Informal physics spaces often develop organically from outreach efforts of a grant or from a desire to share a STEM passion with a younger generation. Very rarely are informal physics spaces or programs developed from guiding principles or best practices. Thus, implementation of these programs varies greatly and while we know these programs have an impact on STEM interest, their diversity makes them difficult to study and evaluate. This poster session will provide an opportunity for interested parties to engage in the creation of recommendations for the conceptual development of informal physics programs. The design of these programs may include a discussion of goals of the program, community partnerships, ideal informal environments, choice of participants, choice of physics topics, program length, and selection and training of leaders and mentors. Participants may also share their research experiences in informal STEM programs and insight on topics such as program evaluation, research questions, data collection, and impact. There will be time allotted in the session for presenters and participants to work together to create conceptual designs for different types of informal physics programs.
Abstract Type: Poster Symposium
Session Time: Parallel Sessions Cluster III
Room: Cascade C

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Michele McColgan
Siena College

Symposium Specific Information

Presentation 1 Title: It's not just about a physics identity: How informal programs can support multiple identities
Presentation 1 Authors: Brean Prefontaine
Presentation 1 Abstract: Informal programs that that provide students the opportunity to interact with both physics and other interests (such as sports, hobbies, art, etc.) encourage the growth of multiple identities that are integral to a student. These programs provide support to a diverse range of students and encourage growth in many different areas of a student's identity instead of just focusing on fostering a physics identity. We have been using both the Critical Physics Identity framework and Critical Race Theory as analytical tools for understanding how students are supported within these programs. Furthermore, we are seeking to understand the design principles for creating successful informal programs that can blend student interests with physics.
Presentation 2 Title: PISEC: A partnership of physics, research, and youth agency
Presentation 2 Authors: Brett Fiedler
Presentation 2 Abstract: The Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) is an informal physics program with strong conceptual foundations in the Fifth Dimension afterschool program model and design-based implementation research (DBIR) methods. PISEC is a joint collaboration between the JILA NSF Physics Frontier Center and the PER group in the physics department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The continued success of the PISEC program, now over a decade old, can be attributed to many factors. This includes an equal focus on its growth as a physics-focused afterschool program for kids, partner of the local community, and as an active research program. We will share how foundational concepts of the program integrate to form a bi-directional benefit model, past research that has evolved the program, and how research methods are embedded in the program.
Presentation 3 Title: Siena Saturday Scholars: How understanding students creates valued outcomes
Presentation 3 Authors: Michele McColgan, Robert J. Colesante
Presentation 3 Abstract: Out-of-school STEM experiences in elementary and middle school support student exploration during a time when STEM interest typically declines. Many factors are at play for students in underserved communities that may contribute to the decline. The design of our informal STEM program addresses factors to protect against this decline. Program climate and support, ever-changing class offerings, choice of classes, STEM role models, and long-term opportunities are all aspects of the program that we find to be important.  We distinguish and pursue narrative and propositional frameworks for evaluating the program. The former helps us understand students and aspects of their lives outside of the program that impact their interest and pursuit of stem classes. The later helps us examine whether the program has an impact on school outcomes of the students or to determine the characteristics of children who benefit most from the program.
Presentation 4 Title: The Design of Performing Physics: using the CPI framework for program structure and analysis
Presentation 4 Authors: Simone Hyater-Adams
Presentation 4 Abstract: The Performing Physics Program integrates performance art (dance, music, spoken word, and improv) with physics content for youth of color. It's design is based off of our prior work using the Critical Physics Identity Framework (CPI) to understand Black identity in physics. In this poster, we discuss the process of our iterative design and analysis of the program using the CPI framework.