Science Story workshop outline

Introduction. Discuss power of story to catch and hold attention, embed memorable 

information, strengthen community among listeners. 5 min


Exercise: form into groups of 3-4, each group to include at least one person with some 

scientific background – not just academic, can include gardeners, amateur astronomers, 

birdwatchers. Are the others educators? Tellers? 10min


Exercise: After I explain the value of individuals' “Origin Stories” in science communication, small group members exchange their own brief anecdotes about how they discovered their love of nature, commitment to science education, etc. 10 min

Discuss: how personal stories make a connection with listeners (even skeptics). 5 min

Demo and group analysis: Uses of Fiction. After I demonstrate a short pourquoi tale, small groups brainstorm how a fictional story can “plant a hook” on which to hang science questions, content. Then share with all, compile suggestions on flipchart. 15 min

Demo and group analysis: Narrative Non-Fiction. After I demonstrate a story-style narrative of nonfictional material, all brainstorm the folktale structures andstorytelling techniques they observed. Compile on flipchart. 15 min

Exercise: Presented with a dry set of facts from a true science episode, small groups experiment with applying narrative forms and techniques to “tell it like a story.” Groups are invited to share their draft with all. Comments, suggestions. 20 min

What next? Questions? Handout: outline and bibliography of resources, examples. 5 min

Close with thanks, reminder to fill out evaluations, and a reminder that while fictional stories have an End, science keeps moving. 5 min


Approximate percentage or amount of time for each facet of the presentation:
– Lecture/demonstration 26%
– Group discussion 11%
– Audience participation (written/verbal activity, solo or group) 55%
– Question and answer – ongoing throughout
– Handout at the end of the workshop 6%