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What is the Intersection Initiative?

With generous support from the National Science Foundation, the National Writing Project (NWP) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) set out to design a program that will integrate science and literacy. As part of this program, Building Informal Science Education and Literacy Partnerships (NSF Grant No. 122461), now known as Intersections, NWP sites and ASTC-member science centers and museums forged partnerships to develop innovative programs for educators and youth.

This grant was created to address the critical need for more programming that integrates two very important areas of curriculum — science and literacy, with a strong commitment to expanding access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and literacy education. The NWP/ASTC partnership fostered the creation of new program models able to reach a more diverse range of youth and educators, resulting in an infusion of literacy practices in informal settings as well as increased exposure of formal educators to STEM-rich learning experiences. The program has built on recommendations in the Common Core State Standards and the National Research Council’s publication, “A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”

Intersections at a Glance: Ten Partner Sites

COHORT 1:

  • Charlotte, NC: UNC Charlotte Writing Project and Discovery Place
  • Missoula, MT: spectrUM Discovery Area and Montana Writing Project
  • Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Science Center and Central Arizona Writing Project
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Science Center And Western Pennsylvania Writing Project
  • San Diego, CA: San Diego Natural History Museum, The Fleet Inquiry Institute and San Diego Area Writing Project

COHORT 2:

  • Bangor, ME: Maine Discovery Museum and Maine Writing Project
  • Boise, ID: Discovery Center of Idaho and Boise State Writing Project
  • Fort Collins, CO: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and Colorado State University Writing Project
  • Philadelphia, PA: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Philadelphia Writing Project
  • Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Tar River Writing Project

Project Sponsors and Advisors

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.DRL-12244161

Project Advisors: K.C. Cole, Science Writer; Nicole Gillespie, Director, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellowships; Julie Ann Miller, Council of Science Editors; Alan J. McCormack, Past President, National Science Teachers Association and Emeritus Professor Emeritus, School of Teacher Education, San Diego State University.

History of the Creation of the Intersections Project

In 2011, Dr. Mark St. John of Inverness Research brought together Dr. Judy Buchanan, from the National Writing Project and Bud Rock and Margaret Glass from the Association of Science-Technology Centers to brainstorm ways in which these two large, far-reaching networks might work together. Inverness Research had worked with both of these organizations over the past twenty-five years, and St. John thought there was tremendous potential in fostering this partnership for several reasons. One reason is that NWP and ASTC share a long history of working with science educators and youth. In addition, there are approximately 200 local NWP sites located across the country and over 350 science centers and museums that are ASTC members; many communities have both. All three organizations thought that a collaboration between these the NWP and ASTC sites seemed likely to foster and be able to support innovative experiments in science-literacy work at scale.