How to Use this Guide
This Guide is divided into Five Sections:
Outreach Ideas – a listing and “how to” guide of suggested outreach programs and projects. For each program, we provide details about how to plan and execute it, what resources are needed, FAQs, what works, what doesn’t work, and what to watch out for, as well as other valuable information. We also include hypothetical examples of the Outreach Ideas provided, to give you an idea of how to put each idea together more than one way.
Outreach Tips – Information regarding things that will support your outreach program and make it (and you) successful. We provide information about public relations and how to promote your program (both before and after the fact), safety issues you need to know for any program, working with children and schools, and dealing with outside vendors.
Demos List – a list of various physics demos. These demos can be mixed and matched to use with different outreach programs. How-tos, photos, video, expert contact info, and other important info are provided.
Experts – a listing of people who have had great success in creating, planning, and executing outreach programs. Their contact information is provided, as is information about their areas of expertise and advice they have about going forward with outreach.
Success Stories – specific examples of successful outreach programs performed/presented at different institutions, with contact information, video, and links to websites (as available).
The Five Sections are linked together and are meant to be cross-referenced to ensure that the information provided is done so in the most effective manner.
How to Pick an Outreach Program
“Know Thyself”, in the words of Expert Dave Maiullo, (quoting Socrates) is an important key to selecting an outreach program that you will do. Recognize your personality and what you like to do. Do you enjoy working with 6th graders? Or would you prefer an environment of older audience members? Do you like to do one-on-one demos, or do you prefer large stage presentations? Do you like or don’t mind traveling to a site to do a physics program? Do you like giving large, formal lectures sans too much “physics speak”, or do you prefer smaller, more intimate environments, such as those found in Science Cafes, where you can discuss more of the technical details of physics with adults?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as you decide what outreach program to do. Because the bottom line is that you should, believe it or not, enjoy yourself while you are presenting an outreach program. When you have a good time, not only is it a better and more effective experience for your audience/participants, but you won’t feel like you are wasting your time and you will have fun. And isn’t that why you got into physics in the first place?
After you recognize your personality and what you would enjoy doing, you will need to determine if you have the resources to execute your idea. Resources include time (yours and anyone who will help you), money, equipment, venue, transportation (for some programs), etc. This Guide lists the resources that each outreach program requires, so you can scan the list of resources and determine which of those you have, which of those you don’t have but can get, and which of those you don’t have and won’t be able to get.
Need help?Once you pick an outreach program that you would like to present, you will find that this Guide provides a lot of help. Throughout the Guide are links to Experts and Success Stories that will assist you in your mission. The Experts are listed because they want to help you, so you are welcome to contact them with any questions you might have and general advice. The Success Stories give insight into how the programs are put together and presented. They are real examples of the outreach ideas listed. There are pictures and video explaining details of these programs, as is the case with the Demos List, where there is even a link to videos showing you how to do many of the demos we list (and some we don’t).