Science Sandbox awardees
Science Sandbox, an initiative of Science, Society and Culture at the Simons Foundation, supports boundary-pushing, interdisciplinary projects that support science in culture. Through this grantmaking program, we identify people and organizations who seek to inspire and empower, and partner with them to support their vision. Through our partnerships we strive to bring to light the role scientific inquiry can play in people’s day-to-day lives, while centering communities and voices that have been historically underserved.
Science Sandbox is a national portfolio, and through this campaign we’re supporting our awardees to expand and/or grow their work to support communities in the path of totality. These innovative organizations will be providing opportunities to engage with the eclipse across media, live events, youth programming and more.
BioBus envisions a world where everyone can reach their full scientific potential. They build toward this vision by bringing hands-on science learning directly to students in communities underrepresented in science careers. With BioBus’s two mobile labs and brick-and-mortar labs in New York City, a diverse new generation of scientists are already creating a fairer and more equitable world through science. Read more
BioBus plans to bring our mobile lab to Houlton, Maine as well as a team of scientists to capitalize on the excitement and visibility of science in action. BioBus hopes to fan the spark of curiosity ignited by the eclipse to cultivate a life-long passion for science and critical thinking. During and after the eclipse, BioBus plans to engage the public by using DIY microscopes to mirror what is happening during the eclipse, discuss how eclipse viewing boxes work, and explore how insects and other mammals will perceive the eclipse. BioBus plans to roll out these activities at pre-eclipse events, namely street fairs and special events hosted by the town of Houlton. BioBus is also hoping to collaborate with the Maliseet tribe to bring culturally relevant programming to the participants. In offering this opportunity of inquiry-based, hands-on learning to participants, BioBus works to ensure a more equitable future for science learning and workplaces.
Society for Science
Society for Science is a champion for science, dedicated to expanding scientific literacy, effective STEM education and scientific research. The core intent of the Science News Learning program is to provide educators, and thus their students, with up-to-date, current science journalism that makes science relevant and engaging while strengthening students' understanding and retention of scientific concepts. The program currently strives to deepen engagement with educators and support integration of program resources into curricula via professional development for enrolled school districts and virtual workshops for all educators within the program. Read more
Society for Science has identified 40 public schools along the path of totality that are located in rural, small towns. They will offer these schools the opportunity to apply for a Solar Eclipse Kit and Resource Package from Science News Learning via a competitive grant application process. The kit will include a telescope with solar filter for viewing the eclipse, a classroom set of solar viewing glasses and a solar eclipse yardstick activity kit. The Resource Package will include Science News coverage of the event, the science behind solar eclipses and lesson plans with activities to teach related concepts. It will also contain communication-related resources designed to empower students to serve as STEM ambassadors to their communities and share their knowledge to help others experience the eclipse.
Sing For Science
Sing For Science is a science and music podcast produced with Talkhouse in which musicians talk to scientists about science as it connects to their most famous songs. Created and hosted by New York musician Matt Whyte, the podcast’s goal is to increase science literacy for as many people as possible by reaching a variety of different musicians’ fan bases. Listeners come to the show through their love of music and leave with a new place of knowledge about science and scientific process. Science literacy and respect for expertise are perhaps more vital now than ever before. The show’s chief tenet is that a more scientifically literate society can only contribute towards greater support for more fair, evidence-based policy in government. Read more
In light of the 2024 total solar eclipse, Sing for Science will present a free “Sun Piano/Moon Piano” concert and live Sing for Science podcast taping with legendary new age pianist Laraaji in Syracuse, NY on the evening of April 8, 2024. Laraaji is a new age visionary, mystic and multi-instrumental sound artist. He arguably remains the most respected and popular of all legacy musicians to return to prominence in the new age music revival of the past 15 years on the foundation of his debut collaboration with Brian Eno in 1980. Two of Laraaji’s most recent works are the companion albums “Sun Piano” and “Moon Piano.” Both albums are stunning works of minimal ambient expression and will provide the sonic centerpiece to a beautiful gathering of music fans, eclipse enthusiasts and inquisitive members of the downtown Syracuse community.
SciLine + The Open Notebook
SciLine is a free service for journalists based at the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science; its mission is to make it easier for reporters to include scientists and scientific information in their new stories, whether those stories are about science or about events and issues where science can add valuable context. The Open Notebook (TON) is an independent nonprofit that helps science journalists sharpen their skills through a diverse community of practices. The two groups share an interest in supporting the work of local journalists — particularly those who don’t often cover science issues and may not be trained to do so — to bring timely and relevant scientific evidence to the public. Read more
Ahead of the 2024 total solar eclipse, they will create and implement a science-reporting training and mentorship program for one to three groups of up to 30 local journalists each who are serving communities in the path of totality. This program will teach reporters how to incorporate science into their everyday reporting, engaging in continued learning with peer-science reporters. This work combines and builds upon strengths already present at TON and SciLine to help local reporters prepare to cover the eclipse, and future stories, in scientifically accurate and meaningful ways.
Radiolab, hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser, is a radio program on a curiosity bender. They ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. For over two decades, Radiolab has been devoted to science explorations, combining a celebration of natural curiosity with rigorous research to investigate stories based in biology, physics, chemistry, geoscience and more — including emerging and urgent topics in contemporary scientific discourse. Read more
With a historic total solar eclipse set to occur across North America on April 8, 2024, Radiolab is exploring a range of programming options to celebrate the event. Radiolab’s eclipse programming will be powered by a network of regional partnerships that strengthen Radiolab’s connection to communities in the path of totality. In addition to leveraging all of New York Public Radio’s distribution platforms including live broadcast, streaming and podcast feeds, Radiolab will partner with public radio stations located in the path of totality. The team will also cultivate relationships with local community organizations participating in eclipse programming.
Through their novel “literary science” approach, NewComm Fellows equips both students and local organizations with useful, usable and non-breakable tools to amplify local innovation. They are revolutionizing the study of literature, as they turn what has traditionally been classroom-contained work into an active tool to understand and confront the evolving challenges of their local communities. By empowering learners to leverage the power of narrative to create tangible impact, they ensure their program is oriented towards transformational, not transactional, outcomes. Read more
LAB is an annual weekend retreat exclusively designed for fellows participating in their program. Set outside of New York City, the event focuses on engaging Fellows with powers and design practitioners to refine and finalize the social impact project they have developed and tested since the summer. Each LAB is grounded in a particular theme or question that shapes the discussions guiding their work. The 2024 LAB will take place from April 8–9 at the Minnowbrook Conference Center at Syracuse University. The theme, “Face the Sun,” is inspired by Syracuse’s location on the path of totality, symbolizing the interplay of light and darkness in both physical and metaphorical spaces. During the retreat, fellows will attend workshops, design discussions, engage in group projects and have networking opportunities. The selected literary text will be Tracy K. Smith’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection Life on Mars, as it explores collective humanity through the lens of space and technology. LAB aims to create a uniquely supportive environment that combines literary analysis with practical problem-solving skills, fostering deep connections among fellows.
Imagine Science is a collaboration of four leading national youth organizations formed to bridge the STEM gap by igniting the imaginations of historically under-represented youth. They believe that prolonged, informal exposure to STEM increases a child’s interest and builds a foundation for proficiency through high school and beyond. They strategically align their STEM priorities and invest in the creation of a national network of Innovation Sites that partner with one another to share curricula, training, data and other assets in unprecedented ways in order to engage more under-represented youth and identify best practices. They believe in the next generation of problem solvers and innovators. Imagine Science believes they share in the responsibility to have an equal chance to be inspired to pursue a career in STEM. Read more
The Imagine Science Collaboration will leverage the awe-inspiring spectacle of the 2024 total eclipse to deepen its impact among under-represented youth. This unique celestial event serves as a catalyst to ignite curiosity, unite communities and stimulate interest in broader scientific concepts. The project intends to bring this opportunity to life by implementing the evidence-backed “H + NASA: Mission Sun!” curriculum at 12 program sites across two existing Imagine Science networks. All chosen sites will be within the path of totality, promising a profound, community based, high-quality hands-on science engagement.
The Gaskins Foundation
The Gaskins Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to present, engage and prepare students of all ages to become leaders in STEM using algebra, programming and design concepts. Their program EPICC STEMulates transforms historically black churches’ meeting spaces into a STEM learning environment and provides extraordinary STEM opportunities for under-recognized and underrepresented youth. The program also gives youth resources at many stages of their academic careers as well as their creative lives. Since its inception, the program has expanded to four locations in the area and supports 2,500 students annually. Read more
Beginning in the fall of 2023, the STEMulates program will incorporate an outreach program to educate its partner communities about the 2024 total solar eclipse. In addition to the program’s established programming locations, The Gaskins Foundation will also partner with the Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis, Indiana to host the program for students in the Indianapolis area and identify churches in Indianapolis to participate in STEMulates. Learning about the upcoming eclipse is an excellent opportunity for students to gain knowledge about the natural phenomenon that occurs in our solar system. Additionally, students can learn about the cultural significance of eclipses in different societies and how they have been interpreted throughout history. Understanding the eclipse can also help students appreciate the importance of protecting their eyes during the event and the precautions they need to take.
Design to Disrupt
The Design to Disrupt (D2D) and Reimagine Education initiative began during the U.S. lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic as an inclusive space for K-12 education stakeholders to provide information, and contribute to, the future of education. Since the group’s establishment, D2D roundtables have served as an entry point for essential conversations about race, racism and the digital divide. Central to these dialogues are the many intersections of one’s identity and social-emotional awareness. Read more
As part of the Pennsylvania Chief Science Officers (CSO) program’s 2023 statewide expansion, D2D will take advantage of the natural disruption of the 2024 solar eclipse to share their learning journey and experiences prior to and following the eclipse event. A curated list of free and publicly accessible education materials will be shared with the greater CSO network to ensure all CSO’s have access to the science behind the eclipse event and the “Umbra/Penumbra/Eclipse” relationship. D2D will also head to Erie, Pennsylvania to host discussions that will convene youth, educators, families, community members and community-based organizations.
The Symposium: Academic Stand Up
The Symposium: Academic Stand Up is an educational stand-up comedy show and workshop series that aims to challenge what experts look and sound like while also exploring the process of knowledge building through sharp, socially mindful humor. The program, created, produced and curated by science communicator and comedian Kyle Marian Viterbo, began in 2017 at New York City’s Caveat Theater and has traveled to Detroit, Boston and other cities in the U.S. They work with partner academic institutions to bring the training program to minorities in STEM. The workshop series provides intersectional and interdisciplinary science communication and comedy training to academics. The show brings together smart stand-up comedians alongside trained academics to do real stand-up comedy for adult audiences. Read more
Next year’s North American total solar eclipse presents an incredible opportunity to connect with diverse communities in the U.S. about the science of this celestial event. The team will mount a week-long comedy tour across three cities in Texas along the path of totality and perform in famed comedy clubs. The Symposium’s science comedy incubator/collective aims to present this as an important moment to celebrate how diverse immigrant and indigenous communities value the sun and the stars. The Symposium hopes to leverage this incredible celestial event to celebrate how non-Western cultures can connect with scientific phenomena through different ways of knowing.