Laurence ARCADIAS, Maryland Institute College of Art, United States
Robin CORBET, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, United States
Art and science are different ways of exploring the world, but together they have the potential to be thought-provoking, facilitate a science-society dialogue, and raise public awareness of science. For several years, we have been teaching an astro-animation class at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) as a collaboration between undergraduate students and NASA scientists. To determine the effectiveness of our program and its potential for growth and further development, we conducted a study examining whether animation and astronomy can enhance scientific public outreach, and promote science education through art making. STEM learning is a crucial component for preparing students for a successful professional life. But reports show a worrying lack of interest in STEM among students from out-of-reach or underrepresented groups. Learning depends on motivation and arousal of interest. Using animation as a way to introduce STEM material in informal ways can be highly effective. MICA/UMBC are designing together an informal, out of the classroom, astrophysics learning experience. In a “guerilla-science setup'' type, we will use an itinerant animation exhibition with hands-on artistic activities in unusual locations with a series of on-demand consecutive workshops around astrophysical themes.