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Objectives

  • To expose the visiting public to biological research as it is happening and to provide an intimate and personalized view of the nature and processes of biological research and the people who do it.
  • To promote voluntary and self-directed science education in all audiences by providing rich and stimulating materials and opportunities for their use in and out of formal learning situations. To do this by letting visitors explore, at their own pace, the “stuff” of scientific research so they can better understand that science is accessible and fun and that it is conducted by people much like themselves.
  • To develop, produce and disseminate the highest possible quality materials about ongoing biological science research at the National Zoo and Smithsonian Institution as rapidly and inexpensively as possible. These materials include hands-on interactives, interactive multimedia presentations, videos, flat graphic presentations, teacher guides, student activity books, a website, libraries, and objects accumulated by researchers during the course of their work.
  • To use ASG as a laboratory to develop an independent qualitative assessment program (i.e. long-term evaluation) that identifies the characteristics of ASG that encourage exploration, self-directed learning and an appreciation for the processes and nature of science. Subsequently, to use the results of those assessments to develop and refine our program and develop a more formal model that can be applied in other institutions (e.g. museums and zoos).
  • To strengthen and expand existing linkages between ASG and centers of formal education (i.e. schools) through teacher and student workshops, science fairs and curriculum-based teacher and student resource materials.
  • To make resources relating to the most current Zoo and Smithsonian research available to teachers, students and parents for use in formal (i.e. curriculum-based) and informal (i.e. self directed learning) education situations.
  • To provide science education/interpretation training opportunities for teachers and scientists so that they may learn to communicate more effectively with all audiences and be better advocates for science.
  • To promote the biological sciences education in underserved audiences, especially among the North American Hispanic community, and to develop career opportunities in biological research and biological science education in these communities.