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GDI News

Winter 2002 Issue # 1

Front Page

ScienceQuest, an after-school program with a difference, is the product of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, in partnership with Education Development Center, and ThinkQuest. ScienceQuest brings together informal science and technology to local community technology centers (CTCs) across the country. The pilot- spring 2001 modeled this project for future years. During the pilot, 12 teams ran in various neighborhoods in Boston. During 2001-2002 year ScienceQuest will expand, bringing ScienceQuest to over 50 locations.

Middle-school students form small teams and work in their local CTCs to investigate an area of science that excites them; the product of this effort are websites that display what valuable discoveries the students have made. The students use many resources freely available within the Boston area to explore science topics; places such as the New England Aquarium, the Franklin Park Zoo, local bio-tech companies, or even the empty parking lot next door are all subject to the unbridled curiosity of the students. After a period of exploration, the teams research, asking scientists questions via email searching via the web, or revisiting the zoo or the park to get more information about the question. In order to present their findings to the world, the students build websites, that are housed on, to educate, explain and demonstrate what they have learnt.

Teams are based in Roxbury, Chinatown, Roslindale, Allston, and in Framingham. The coaches of the teams are parents, college students, retired engineers and future teachers, who are not experts but who receive training and support, through visits from informal science experts, websites and listservs among other resources, in guiding the teams as they discover and model how real researchers work. The teams have ready access to the internet, digital cameras and other tools for discovery. These tools also allows students who have disabilities to participate in this exploration.

For further information, please take a look at the ScienceQuest website.


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