Energy, Environment and Social Learning Network: Enhancing Opportunities for Learning Using an Earth System Science Framework
ENERGY-NET (Energy, Environment and Society Learning Network) brings together the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) with the learning science and geoscience research strengths at the University of Pittsburgh to create rich opportunities for participatory learning and public education in the arena of energy, the environment, and society using an Earth systems science framework. ENERGY-NET builds upon a long-established teen docent program at CMNH and forms Geoscience Squads comprised of underserved teens. Together, the ENERGY-NET team, including museum staff, experts in informal learning sciences, and geoscientists spanning career stage (undergraduates, graduate students, faculty) provides inquiry-based learning experiences guided by Earth systems science principles. Together, the team works with Geoscience Squads to design "Exploration Stations" for use with CMNH visitors that employ an Earth systems science framework to explore the intersecting lenses of energy, the environment, and society. The goals of ENERGY-NET are to: 1) Develop a rich set of experiential learning activities to enhance public knowledge about the complex dynamics between Energy, Environment, and Society for demonstration at CMNH; 2) Expand diversity in the geosciences workforce by mentoring underrepresented teens, providing authentic learning experiences in earth systems science and life skills, and providing networking opportunities with geoscientists; and 3) Institutionalize ENERGY-NET collaborations among geosciences expert, learning researchers, and museum staff to yield long-term improvements in public geoscience education and geoscience workforce recruiting.