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National Parks Science Challenge

The National Parks Science Challenge project is helping to expand where and when people learn over their lifetime by facilitating young adults’ access to urban national parks through designed learning experiences supported by mobile technologies. With support from the National Science Foundation the Institute is leading the ‘science capital’ research component of the project, through deliberative focus groups with selected urban young adult groups in order to collectively reflect about the concerns, needs and expectation of urban young people, to expose their personal narrative of science participation, as well as their interests on relevant scientific topics related to mobile games and National Parks. Through partnerships with the Park Youth Collaborative and with the Bringing the Lessons Home Program at the Holocaust Museum and Ford’s Theater we have collected data through surveys, participant-produced artifacts, and focus group discussions to better understand young adults’ attitudes towards and experiences with STEM, their experiences in and perceptions of national parks, and to solicit feedback on the design of a new mobile app to support young adult engagement and learning in national park spaces.