Back to Volume
Paper: Engage Teens in Astronomy Science Cafés
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 368
Authors: Hall, M.; Mayhew, M.
Abstract: The Teen Science Café Network ( is a dynamic, rapidly-growing community of practice with the mission of connecting high school teens with science and scientists via the popular science café model. We mentor adults who wish to start a program and provide professional development to enhance their skills in engaging teens in science. During a “teen café,” teens meet in a social setting and have a lively conversation with a scientist around some hot topic. Typical cafés include a 20 minute presentation by the scientist about their work, who then shares her/ his story of what brought them into the field. After the talk teens engage in a hands-on activity relevant to the presentation. Our evaluations have documented the program's success.
  • Teens gained a much more realistic perception of the nature of science, the interesting lives that scientists lead, and for some the possibility of a life in science that may not have occurred to them.
  • It positively influenced teens' interest in science / science careers and the nature of scientific research.
  • 71% of teens agree that the Cafe changed their view of the importance of science to their lives.
  • The Cafe positively influenced teens' understanding of science issues in the news, their use of facts to support scientific points of view, and considering multiple sides of an issue before making a decision.
  • 90% of respondents to a survey said that they learn something new almost all the time in Cafes.
  • Teens improved cognitive and behavioral competence, confidence, positive social connections, character, caring, and ability to contribute to society-the 6C's for positive youth development.
Any organization wishing to start a program is welcome to join the Teen Science Café Network, and will have all the support needed to successfully lead the program. Astronomy is one of the most popular subject areas; a teen café site focused on astronomy would likely draw a sizable teen audience.
Back to Volume