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The Community Science Workshops: A Report on Their Progress


Mark St. John, Becky Carroll, Judy Hirabayashi, Dawn Huntwork, Katherine Ramage, Julie Shattuck, Inverness Research Inc.


Funded in 1994 by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the Community Science Workshops (CSWs) are an important new invention. Neither school nor science museum, the CSWs are an unusual kind of institution. They are part science center, part wood shop, part nature center – all in the heart of urban neighborhoods throughout California. Located in community centers and schools, they attract youth from local neighborhoods who drop in after school and on weekends. At these places, children, mostly eight to twelve year-olds, play with home-made exhibits. They also build their own birdhouses, stereo speakers, hydraulic cars and robots. They care for snakes and fish, and examine pond water under microscopes – all the while working with other youth and caring adults.

Inverness Research Associates has been documenting the establishment and development of the Community Science Workshops for the past five years. This report portrays the CSWs for audiences who have not had the opportunity to see them for themselves. It describes the genesis, development and growth of the Community Science Workshops. It also describes the CSWs from the point of view of the youth they serve; the program staff who develop and run the Workshops; and the local community who are served by the Workshops. The report also examines the economics and the sustainability of the Workshops, a dimension of central interest to potential funders such as NSF. It shares some of the lessons learned about developing new Workshops which may be useful to those who are interested in establishing similar Workshops in other communities in the future. Overall, this report is intended to document the benefits that have accrued from the NSF investment in what we see as the CSW "experiment".

Intended Audience

Community Leaders, Educators, Teachers, Reform Leaders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research

Date published

January, 2000

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.

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