Catering for special audiences

Tell us about successful programs or activities that you have developed for specific audiences - for example particular age groups, minority groups in your community, underprivileged students or families. How have you made sure that your program is culturally sensitive and appropriate to the audience?

Technology and science for students with visual impairments

Chabot Space & Science Center has built on its successful Techbridge program (technology and science for girls) to develop ‘Explore It After School!’ – a set of resources for students with visual impairments.

The resource includes  lesson plans for technology and science projects,career exploration activities, tips for role model visits and field trips, a case study of an internship and ideas for hosting a technology or science program. Many of the activities are accompanied by comments on the lessons learned by program developers during trials of the material. Download the entire report or individual sections.

Teenagers in China

Papers from the PCST Working Symposium in Beijing in June 2005

To generate better use of the 120 'popular science bases' in Shanghai, China, teenagers have been recruited and trained as guides. Yao JianLan and Zhu Fang described the program (initially trialled at the Shanghai Botanic Gardens and the Shanghai Public Security Museum) and outlined the benefits gained and some of the problems encountered. Download this paper (pdf, 28 kb).

The new 'Discovery World' project has brought together museum researchers, guides and volunteers with school teachers and external researchers, to develop curriculum-relevant activities for teenagers at the Beijing Museum of Natural History. The development and early successes of this project were described by Yang Jing and Li Nan. Download this paper (pdf, 72 kb).

A two-pronged approach - an exhibition and a competition - allowed the China Science and Technology Museum and the Center for Environmental Education to educate and enthuse large numbers of teenagers about environmental issues. Lily and Zhang Youy described the strategies used in this program. Download this paper (pdf, 32 kb).

Mobile science for ethnic minorities in China

To build the scientific literacy of 13 different ethnic groups in a 1.66 million square kilometre region of north-west China, a travelling Science Popularization Team made use of traditional festivals, bazaars and fairs. From 2001 to 2004 the team travelled 40 000 kilometres to reach over 300 000 people with films, lectures, multimedia presentations, books and free medical consultations. Download a report on this project by Sun Rong and Jia Ziwen (pdf, 19 kb).

Indigenous audiences in remote parts of Australia

At the PCST working symposium in Beijing in June 2005, Questacon's Allen Rooney described the evolution over several years of science and technology programs for indigenous communities in remote parts of Australia. Evaluation, based mostly on feedback from participants and presenters, has guided the development of the program. Download Allen Rooney's paper (pdf, 23 kb).

Teenagers in rural and urban disadvantaged schools in USA

At the PCST working symposium in Beijing in June 2005, Margaret Corbit of Cornell University's Cornell Theory Centre described SciFair, the outreach program of the online science centre SciFair allowed teenagers at remote sites around the USA to use online game technology to build fluency in technology and increase their science literacy while developing virtual worlds. Download the report on SciFair (pdf, 124 kb).

Engaging With Older Visitors

The North Museum of Natural History & Science in Lancaster, Pennsylvania USA has for several years run a Coffee and Conversation program for visitors aged 60 and up. An article in the July/August 2003 issue of ASTC's Dimensions describes the program and the research carried out to inform its development. Program outcomes and tips for success with this age group are also included.

Access For People With Disabilities

The Association of Science-Technology Centers has developed an extensive collection of resources to help science centres and museums make their premises and their programs accessible to people with a variety of disabilities.


If you offer programs for girls aged 11-17, a study by the USA's Girl Scout Research Institute could provide useful background (download the report, 2 MB pdf). The report explores girls' hopes, fears, dreams, fears, interests and self-images; their vision for an ideal program; and implications for adults working with girls in this age group (which turns out to be three separate age groups!)

Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland CA, USA) has been running an after-school technology program tailored specifically to the interests of girls in grades 5 to 12 for five years. The dedicated website for the Techbridge program has information about programs, curriculum, professional development and family events, also tips and resources for encouraging girls in technology. An article in the May/June 2005 issue of ASTC Dimensions describes the program and its impacts.

The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia PA, USA) caters for girls through programs such as Girls at the Center, which aims to encourage family involvement in girls' science learning; and the National Science Partnership for Girl Scouts and Science Museums, which provides hands-on kits and training opportunities for use by Girl Scouts in a variety of settings; they are also used in large community or science centre events, membership drives and fund-raising events.

Cutting Edge Science and Technology for Senior Secondary Students

The Smart Moves program of Questacon in Canberra, Australia promotes cutting edge research, new ideas and entrepreneurship in science, engineering and technology (SET) to senior secondary students in regional and rural areas. Performance-based presentations are tailored to the audience through the use of local examples, pop culture and appropriate language. An extensive website links young people with SET and innovation. Download a June 2005 summary of evaluation of the program (pdf, 23 kb).

Young People from Underprivileged Families

Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium (Miami, USA) has a very successful mentor-based program that has worked for 10 years with low-income, first-generation college-bound youth (report 160 kB pdf). In 2000-04, over 98% of program participants graduated from high school, compared with only 53% of all students in the region, and most went on to post-secondary education: 60% in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The museum's program won the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

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