Institution: Chabot Space & Science Center
Galaxy Explorers After-school Program for High School Students
Program Evaluation, Science
For many years, I have had the pleasure of evaluating Chabot Space & Science Center’s dynamic afterschool program for high school students, Galaxy Explorers (GE). Funded by NASA, the Peer2Peer project saw students creating and presenting their own planetarium shows with the Center’s state-of-the art portable projection system and dome. Chabot expanded that program with funding from the American Alliance of Museums for an international collaboration with students in Hong Kong. Again with AAM funding, GE participants are currently collaborating with students in India to create table-top interactive exhibits to demonstrate green technologies spawned by NASA research. Evaluations of these and other GE programs have used observation, group interviews, long-term phone interviews and surveys to assess impacts on participants. We have also involved students in participatory evaluation activities to put them in the driver’s seat so they can ask questions about their own work and its impact on audience members and Chabot visitors. Working with international student groups brings to the fore the value and importance of culturally responsive evaluation techniques.