The Mobile Science Center: Promoting Science Engagement through Service-learning

By Martin Kamela and David Gammon.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Elon University runs two courses that incorporate science outreach components in the form of a mobile science center. One course visits with an elementary school next to campus and the other is a travel course to middle schools in Kerala, India. In both cases interactive science demonstrations are built on campus, set up museum-style in gymnasia, and monitored by university students who interact with the children. Elon students predominantly from non-science disciplines take part in the two courses. We discuss as science pedagogy the mobile science center, which relies on the service-learning model of engaging students in socially meaningful contexts. We also discuss the usefulness to the schools of having university students interact with schoolchildren in the context of science. Our experience suggests that promoting science engagement can be expanded beyond the domain of professional scientists and educators. The cause of science education can bring together individuals of diverse interests and serve to bridge cultural divides.

Keywords: Outreach, Science Literacy, Service-learning, Pedagogy, Museum, Demonstrations, Schools, Exhibition

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1008.370KB).

Dr. Martin Kamela

Associate Professor, Physics Department, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA

Martin Kamela holds a Ph. D. in theoretical particle physics from McGill University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. His pedagogical interests focus on incorporating active learning strategies in the classroom. He is also interested in the interface between particle physics and cosmology.

Dr. David Gammon

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA