2017 Fall TSCN Member Workshop

Dallas, 19-21 September, 2017

Springhill Suites by Marriott Dallas

NW Highway at Stemmons/I-35E

What You Need to Know and Do Before Coming to the Workshop (Logistics)

Get Social! Post your pics and thoughts to yours and our social media accounts!

Facebook – Teen Science Cafe Network

Twitter – @TeenScienceCafe

Instagram- TeenScienceCafeNetwork

SnapChat – TeenScienceCafe


Note: Participants will have the opportunity to develop, over the course of the workshop, their plans for their programs and strategies for achieving them over the coming year. They are encouraged to make some notes related to their plans and strategies following each session; then at the end of the workshop they will have a chance to finalize them and present them to each other.

Tuesday, September 19

Note: You are encouraged to wear your Teen Science Café t-shirts or other “spirit wear” on this first day (if you have something).


12:00 Box Lunches Served

1:00 Welcome & Brief History of The Teen Science Café Network (Michelle Hall)

1:15 Using Membership Pages as a Resource, and Accessing the Blogs and Resources on TeenScienceCafe.org (Sara Fyke)

1:30 Ice Breaker – The Name Game (Cynthia Spratley / Sara Fyke)

A fun, small-group variation on the classic Name Game, with actions. This could be used for get-to-know-each-other teen leader training events, or at a café to get teens “warmed up, ie. feeling comfortable to participate!

1:45 Presentation by Teen Leaders from the Dallas Teen Science Café at the Dallas Zoo, followed by Q&A.

2:00 Presentation of Participants’ Calling Cards (All Participants)

Two 30-minute sessions in which participants learn about each other’s programs and start getting to know each other.

Participants will be provided with 3 index cards and asked to write down three ideas they got from the calling card session that might influence how they conduct their programs.  At the end of the two sessions, participants can report out one new idea. (Sara Fyke does note-taking on report out)


3:30 Break

Please sign up today for the Wednesday Birds of a Feather Topic to be held during the 10:15  Break


4:00 The Art of Powerful Questions 

Part 1. Overview. This session is aimed at encouraging participants to begin to think differently about the questions they ask one another, presenters, and teen leaders. How we question can open up (or shut down) new avenues for creativity in your leadership and café program. Questioning can also be used to mentor and guide both teen leaders and presenters. (Alex Rose and Kat Penzkover)


Part 2. Approaches to the adult leader asking powerful questions of the teen leaders, a dramatization! (Alex and Kat, with help from two volunteers)


We will be doing two skits that will allow the attendees to compare and contrast the facilitation style of the questioner and the impact on who is receiving the questions. Participants will be provided with cut strips of paper, each strip containing one of several facilitating behaviors they will be looking for in evaluating the questioning in each skit.


Part 3. Attendees will meet in five small groups, each assigned a hypothetical case around one of five Teen Science Café scenarios, and challenged to come up with a series of powerful questions appropriate to that scenario. An experienced member will facilitate each group discussion; the powerful questions will be compiled and placed in the archive agenda.

(Kat Penzkover, Christine Bean, Kathryn Rende, Michelle Hall, Mike Mayhew)


Part 4. The Alligator Pit!


Attendees are asked to read the following documents in advance of the workshop:

What are Powerful Questions?

Organizing Meeting for a Teen Science Café Program

Using Questions to Identify the Big Idea or Most Important Thing in a Café Presentation

Scenarios for Asking Powerful Questions in Teen Science Café Programs final 

Debriefing After a Café Event


5:30 Wrap Up and Dinner Options


Wednesday, September 20


Emergency Management Teen Cafe theme

Participate in Evaluation of Impacts on Scientists

Participate in Evaluation of Impacts on Past Teen Leaders

8:00 Elements of A Successful Teen Café Program… The Core Design Principles 


The Teen Science Café model is both simple and intricate. The Core Design Principles leave much leeway in how teens lead and design their programs, but each design principle serves an important role. This session will begin with an overview of the Core Design Principles and how they were developed.  (Michelle Hall)

Following the overview, participants will divide into six groups, each focused on one of the Principles. Experienced members will rotate through the groups and lead discussions around 1) why is the Principle important and 2) how participants may apply it in their individual programs. The discussions will aim to elicit what obstacles members perceive in implementing the Principles and possible solutions.  (Kat Penzkover, Alex Rose, Mike Mayhew, Michelle Hall, Danette Carll, Kathryn Rende)

9:00 Ice Breaker (Cynthia Spratley)

9:15 How Creative Can We Get? 

The basic model of a Teen Science Café includes socializing, a short 15-20 min presentation of ideas from the presenter, conversation and discussion of those ideas, and some type of interactive, hands-on learning. A panel of experienced members will introduce a discussion of creative variations on the standard model in venue, style, or format that can have a significant impact on the teens, while remaining faithful to the Principles.

(Kathryn Rende, Danette Carll, Alex Rose, Michelle Hall, Michael Mayhew)

Following the panel’s introduction, the floor will be opened to the whole group; attendees can describe their own creative twists on the standard model. (Notes will be taken, creative ideas synthesized and placed in the archive agenda.)


10:15 Extended Break

This break is intended to allow attendees unstructured time for conversations; attendees may also organize ad hoc Birds of a Feather conversations if they wish (sign-up sheets for possible topics will be posted on the wall).


11:00 How Does an Adult Leader Become a True Mentor to Teen Leaders?

How can we allow our teen leaders to in fact become true leaders with real skills they can apply, not only in their café program, but in their lives? How do we go beyond showing up and getting it done? The session will be introduced by a panel of experts who will describe proven approaches to effective mentoring that brings out the best in teen leaders.

(Christine Bean, Cynthia Spratley, Lauren Traister, Kathryn Rende)

Following a Q and A, attendees will meet in small groups, fill out the “Checklist for an Adult Leader,” then discuss perceived barriers to being a good mentor.


Resources on Mentoring Teen Leaders https://teensciencecafe.org/resources/resources-mentoring-teen-leaders/

Checklist for an Adult Leader – Vibrancy of a Teen Science Café’s Teen Leader Group


12:00 Catered Lunch And “Walk-In-The-Woods” Time


1:30 Help Your Presenters Deliver an Awesome Café

1:30 Part 1. Science Is Everywhere (Michelle Hall)

This segment will explore the wide range of possible STEM professionals to lead a Teen Science Café event; they don’t need to come from a college or university. Attendees will relate novel sources of presenters they have found.


Finding and Preparing Presenters


1:45 Part 2. Coaching Your Scientists 

Our evaluation data shows that most adult leaders are uncomfortable coaching/guiding their scientist presenters. Yet, scientists report that interaction with teens and the adult leader that leads to them refining their presentation and hands on is extremely beneficial. We will explore strategies for adult leaders and teens to become more comfortable coaching the scientists. A goal of the session is overcoming the intimidation factor commonly experienced by members in recruiting and coaching scientists.


A panel of experienced members will open this segment by discussing the particular ways that they coach their scientists to engage the teens and communicate their science with them effectively. (Kathryn Rende, Kat Penzkover, Mike Mayhew)


Following the panel presentation, participants will meet in groups, individually fill out a “Forms of Preparation Checklist,” and then discuss in their groups their rationales for their approaches to preparation, perceived barriers, and possible solutions.




TSCN Blogs and Resources on Finding and Preparing Presenters

POP Pre-Work for TSC Presenters

Checklist for a Successful Teen Café

Presenters’ Guide to the Essence of a Teen Science Café

What Scientists Gain From Teen Science Café


3:00 Ice Breaker (Cynthia Spratley)


3:15 Break 


4:00 Structured Birds-of-a-Feather Topical Sessions Led by Experienced Members

We will post sign-up sheets for possible Birds-of-a-Feather conversations, on which participants can indicate interest. We will also post some blank sheets on which attendees can post their own topics.

Suggested Bird-Of-A-Feather Topics:

  • Challenges of Small Town and Rural Teen Science Café Programs
  • Teen Leadership
  • Finding and Coaching Presenters
  • Attracting teens with diverse motivations and life experiences
  • Sustainability/Partnerships
  • Being Intentionally Inclusive
  • Sources of Hands-on Activities
  • Teen Leadership Possibilities That Go Beyond the Basics


5:00 Wrap Up and Dinner Options

Group Bowling Opportunity.  Note: You may want to bring socks! 


Thursday, September 21


Unanswered Questions? We will pass out cards for you to submit  and we will answer them in the final session.

8:00 Evaluation Research (Jessica Sickler—Evaluator for Teen Science Cafe Network)

There are two opportunities in the Network for you to participate in evaluation.

  1. Each member is invited to conduct evaluation of their cafe program using instruments that are freely available to all sites. Our evaluator will do the data analysis for you.
  2. We are conducting a study of the impacts of preparing and participating in a teen science cafés on scientist presenters.  A pilot study has shown some interesting results and we wish to involve all sites in the network in a broader study. We will discuss the details in this session.

TSCN Phase 1 Report – 07-10-2017 – Preliminary Insights on the Impact of Teen Science Cafés on Presenters


8:30 Finding a Hands-On Activity

Participants will meet in small groups. Each will choose a topic they think might be a good one for their café program. They wil be challenged to find related hands-on activities on the Internet. Participants may help each other in their searches. Participants are asked to email links to any rich and cool sites for hands-on activities to David Wallace (davidwallace at scieds dot com). We will compile these and distribute post-workshop.​

(Lauren Traister, Michelle Hall, Christine Bean)


9:30 Break


10:00 Call to The Members: Help Us Grow the Network (Sara Fyke)

We seek your help in identifying organizations in your professional networks across the country that may be ideal for leading a Teen Science Café. We will brainstorm ideas for recruitment with your connections. If you have recommendations to share, please write them on a piece of paper or the cards provided and hand them to Sara Fyke, the TSCN Outreach Coordinator, before leaving today.  Or, email sarafyke@scieds.com. Thank you!


10:15 What Questions Have Not Been Fully Answered in This Workshop? (Michelle Hall, Note taking by Sara Fyke)

Participants listed their key questions on their Calling Cards prior to the workshop.  This session will be devoted to giving participants a chance as a whole group to review these questions, compile what they have learned, and seek answers to questions they still have.

ListOfParticipantQuestionsFrCallingCards2017 (Word Doc, for note-taking)


11:00 Participants’ Presentation of Goals and Plans

We will organize in groups to complete and reflect on our plans, our goals, and strategies for achieving them, and to ask for and get help from the group to polish our plans. We encourage identifying at least three steps for each goal. Index cards will be handed out to each participant on which to write. We will then individually share out to the larger group, with opportunities for asking questions that did not get answered in the smaller groups.  Please hand in your cards before you leave to David Wallace; they will be typed up and sent to you in an email in the week following the workshop.


12:00  Departure to the Airports