DOE Microbial Genome Program Report
Capturing the Imagination to Capture the Mind: Using the Power of Informal Learning to Advance Science Literacy A Report from the Microbial Literacy CollaborativeCynthia A. Needham
The Microbial Literacy Collaborative (MLC), a partnership of organizations committed to advancing scientific literacy by concentrating on the microbial world, created six major elements: (1) Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth, a science documentary for public television; (2) "Meet the Microbes," a set of hands-on activities; (3) national youth leadership summits for precollege students from traditionally underrepresented communities; (4) Unseen Life on Earth: An Introduction to Microbiology, a 12-part video for distance learning; (5) Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth, a companion book to the television series; and (6) an educational Web site for all ages.
Organizations that constitute MLC include the American Society for Microbiology; National Association of Biology Teachers; Oregon Public Broadcasting; and Baker & Simon, Associates. Other organizations include the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. MLC is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Human Genome Program, National Science Foundation, American Society for Microbiology, Annenberg-CPB Project, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Foundation for Microbiology.
Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth, which received a common carriage designation, was broadcast in November 1999 by 94% of local PBS stations and was viewed by an average of 1.6 million households each week. The four hours of the series include the following:
National youth leadership summits were week-long experiences designed to introduce youth leaders and their adult sponsors to the microbial world and prepare them to implement the hands-on activities in their local community programs. The first of two summits was held in August 1998 on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The training experience was organized with the Association of Science-Technology Centers and their Youth Alive! Program. Participants represented 12 science museums from around the country, with youth leaders drawn primarily from challenged home environments. The second summit was held in Washington, D.C., in July 1999. Participants were drawn from science museums, youth clubs, and school science clubs from 12 different regions in the United States. A third summit is scheduled for summer 2000 in Portland, Oregon.
Unseen Life on Earth: An Introduction to Microbiology is a 12-part telecourse for use in both undergraduate and precollege classrooms. Each 30-minute film focuses on a different aspect of the microbial world. The telecourse, which was designed to address the curriculum standards endorsed by the American Society for Microbiology, is accompanied by teacher and student guides. The telecourse will support a full distance-learning course in microbiology or serve as supporting material for traditional classroom environments. To learn more about the telecourse, visit the MLC Web site.
Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth is a richly illustrated book to accompany the PBS science documentary Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth. It combines vivid, descriptive images from the series and original artwork with the compelling story of the world of microbes and their role in the earth's ecosystem. The authors have built upon the series content to offer a more comprehensive view of our relationship with the planet's tiniest inhabitants. Targeted to a general audience, the book's lively style will engage parents and their children and teachers and their students, along with other members of the scientifically interested public. The text puts the vitally important role of the microbial world into stories and terms familiar to the reader. The book is available through ASM Press; for more information, see www.asmusa.org.
The MLC's award-winning Web site provides an Internet-based, interactive venue to introduce all learners to the microbial world. It contains information about the microbial world, educational resources for both teachers and students, and links to other sites with microbial information. The site received 689,620 hits during the month of November 1999 and recorded 29,779 user sessions. Microbeworld.org was chosen as a USA Today Hot Site and was featured in NetScape's What's Cool. Education World it an A+ review, and Education Planet gave it the top award.
This is a completed project.
|The online presentation of this 2000 publication is a special feature of the Human Genome Project Information Web site.|