Putting the Tools of Science into the Hands of High-Need Communities

Putting The Tools Of Science Into The Hands Of High-Need Communities

With a plethora of project models and program examples, Curt and Erik will describe Community Science Workshops, a network of 8 independent organizations throughout California and two other states. They’ll outline what’s needed to start one and highlight some recent successes. The original CSW was started in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1991, and serves 1000s of kids per year from the current site in Mission High School. Curt is the author of several books, including Tinkering and More Tinkering, published by Make. Erik runs the Free Science Workshop in Ithaca, NY and the Physics Bus.

Curt Gabrielson

After learning the most useful things in life growing up on a hog farm, Curt learned physics at MIT and education at the Exploratorium Teacher Institute. He taught science from junk in China, Timor-Leste, India and California. He worked at Mission Science Workshop for 2 years, started and ran the Watsonville CSW for 11, and worked beside José Sánchez at the Greenfield CSW for 2. His partner and 2 kids are his most successful science project, and he’s penned 5 books in English and several in Tetun, Timor-Leste’s language. He thinks the world would work better if every kid had access to a shop and a farm.

Erik Herman

When Erik isn’t cracking himself up with his own puns to the eye-rolling of his wife and two teens, he’s either making music or straddling tinkering and academia. Despite much failing at school–even repeating entire years of it–he ultimately earned a Master of Arts in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona. He enjoys the stress-free, boredom-free, follow-a-whim ‘flow state’ of creating things with junk, amassing an arsenal of wacky exhibits that ride aboard the Physics Bus. Now he splits most of his time between the Free Science Workshop and Cornell University, convinced that a bridge can be made between the two seemingly disparate worlds. He believes that a cultural revolution is overdue and that CSWs are a nucleation site for the way forward.