Presentation #229.01 in the session Plenary Lecture: Embracing Awe and Wonder: Using Astronomy to Develop Science Literacy, Linda Shore (Astronomical Society of the Pacific).
Public trust in science has eroded significantly over the last decade, leading to clarion calls for scientists to take a much more active role in positively engaging with public audiences and help educators facilitate authentic science inquiry in classrooms, museums, after school programs, libraries, and a host of other other venues. As astronomers, we hold a unique advantage. People are intrinsically fascinated by the cosmos as most recently evidenced by the tremendous public interest in the deployment of JWST and the captivating images it has collected. In this talk, we will examine what defines “science literacy” and consider how astronomy can develop science identity, agency, and capital in audiences of all ages and backgrounds. I will also describe how you can support science educators and help them bring inquiry-rich astronomy activities to students. I will share examples from my own career as Director of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute and - more recently - as Chief Executive Officer of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.