Author: Miguel Garcia-Guerrero – Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico


  • Viridiana Esparza-Manrique – Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico
  • Bertha Michel-Sandoval – Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico

The Science Museum at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas has a long tradition, of 36 years, of public communication of science activities that include visits to its exhibits, lectures, temporal expositions, and science recreation workshops. At first, the efforts were intended for the local community in the city of Zacatecas but in the 1990’s we started working to reach communities on different towns in our state (Zacatecas has the size of Belgium and Netherlands combined). Soon we realized that our team, consisting of 3 hired science communication practitioners and 30 volunteers, was too small to reach 1.5 million people distributed in 77 thousand square kilometers. We had to try a new strategy, one designed to establish new science popularization programs all over the state, which could lead to further activities for the public.

Our goal was to start a chain reaction: train new teams to perform science communication activities in the inner state, which in turn could get more people -and sites- involved in these efforts to reach a growing number of places and people in Zacatecas and other states of Mexico. We used science recreation workshops, interactive activities where participants get to manipulate, discover things and discuss their ideas, as the main engine for this effort.

In order to develop the aforementioned chain reaction, we looked to collaborate with several organizations (schools, cultural centers, museums, public libraries, science councils, and volunteer groups), through different projects that include a traveling science museum, different science recreation kits, as well as our latest endeavor that will establish 30 permanent Science Clubs in our state (in addition to 8 in other sites in Mexico). This paper will address the mistakes, experiences, learnings, and challenges we have taken from our journey.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual presentation
Theme: Transformation

Author: Miguel Garcia-Guerrero – Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico


  • Jordi Diaz – University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Curt Gabrielson – Community Science Workshops, United States
  • Luz Helena Oviedo – Parque Explora, Colombia

Science recreation workshops (SRW) are widely used as a means for public communication of science and technology (S&T) that promotes a three-level interaction for participants: physical, intellectual and emotional. People experience S&T first-hand as protagonists that explore their interests, discover amazing things, perform experiments, build devices, and discuss their ideas. In this sense, SRW serve as cornerstones for communities of practice around S&T, involving different kinds of fellows that help each other in their learning and understanding processes.

Other than will, commitment and proper training, SRW do not require many resources to develop. The use of cheap (or reusable) materials, versatility on the spaces where they can work (classrooms, museums, parks or even streets) and the ability to include all kinds of publics, help them reach places where other means cannot go.

So far the scholar discussion about SRW has been modest, but this has not stopped the development of networks of institutions working with this means for the public communication of science and technology. Such collaborations provide opportunities for interaction and discussion that foster larger communities of practice, where experienced members help the advancement of newcomers; who, in turn, provide fresh perspectives that help improve workshops. All of this strengthens professional development for SRW.

This roundtable involves experiences from Colombia, Spain, the United States, and Mexico, and explores the possibility of creating larger international collaboration networks for SRW practitioners.

Questions to guide the discussion:

What were the main challenges to start the SRW activities you perform?

What is the role of SRW in the process of building communities in your activities?

How did you achieve collaborations with relevant allies?

Do you feel a need for a theoretical foundation that supports the development of SRW?

Is there a need for international collaboration around SRW? What are the benefits that could be achieved from this?

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Transformation