Transforming science education through research-driven innovation

Making Waves: Teaching Radio to Youth and the Public

Making Waves with Radio is a suite of museum activities, apps, and camp curricula for engaging educators, youth, and public audiences about radio technologies.

Project Inspiration

Energy waves operating at radio frequencies surround us at all times. Engineers design devices and systems to harness this energy and provide wireless communications that allow us to send data and messages across the world at the speed of light. That’s why we can use cell phones, make contactless payments, monitor weather conditions, and control air traffic. 

Radio technologies are undergoing rapid technological changes and are highly relevant to our advancing, 21st-century society. Still, many people are unfamiliar with how radio carries our information and how we can participate in its development, governance, and use. 

At BSCS Science Learning, we are working with informal educators to change that. 

Informal educators working in museums, out-of-school programs, and other informal settings across the nation are uniquely positioned to engage and educate public and youth audiences about complex topics. And with the right tools and resources, these educators can make a significant impact.

About the Project

The Making Waves with Radio project aims to promote awareness and understanding of radio frequency technologies and wireless technologies across informal learning environments. 

BSCS is partnering with STEM professionals across academic and informal education to create a suite of resources, including digital apps, craft-based activities, and mobile and online professional learning. These resources will be inclusive, accessible, and adaptable to engage youth and the public about radio frequency communications.  

BSCS is co-designing each of these resources with our partners: Georgia Tech, the Children’s Creativity Museum, Museum of Life and Science, Sciencenter, Teknikio, Global Alliance of Community Science Workshops, and NISE Network museum partners.

The project features a rigorous and multipronged research and development approach that builds on prior studies about Learning sciences to advance a learning-design framework for nimble, mobile, informal education while incorporating the best aspects of hands-on learning. We are testing two related hypotheses: 

  1. A mobile strategy can be effective for supporting just-in-time, informal education of a highly technical, scientific topic. 
  2. A mobile suite of resources, including professional learning, can be used to raise greater awareness and teach informal educators, youth, and the general public about radio frequency communications. 

Materials from this project are informed by a front-end evaluation study of educators and public audiences; formative testing and co-design sessions at partner and community sites; and a summative evaluation to be conducted at museums, science festivals, summer camps, and community science workshops. Data sources include pre- and post-surveys, interviews, and focus groups with a wide array of educators and learners. 

All materials and reports will be released under an open-source license and will be free to use.

Related Resources

Making Waves: Teaching Radio to Youth and the Public (

Keeping Voices in the Room: Values Clarification in Codesign for Equitable Science and Technology Education (

NSF Logo

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2053160. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.