When, where, and how do people learn science? In response to this question, the

National Academy of Sciences report, “Learning Science in Informal Environ-

ments” (Bell, Lewenstein, Shouse, & Feder, 2009) stressed the importance of

everyday experiences, designed spaces like museums and science centers, non-

school science education programs, and science media. The report built on an

array of scholarship attuned to science learning as a lifelong, often self-motivated

endeavor. The findings are not surprising. In all cases, we spend more of our lives

learning outside of classrooms and other formal learning institutions than we

do inside them (Gerber, Cavallo, & Marek, 2001). The situation is analogous

when we think about when, where, and why people engage public science. Often

the scholarly literature focuses on deliberation in related normative forums,

yet most of us engage science issues in ways (and in places) less structured and

more connected to circumstances of daily life (Barron, 2006; Falk, Storksdieck,

& Dierking, 2007). Indeed, in these less structured forums, what we do would

not often be considered “deliberation” at all by scholars. This is particularly

true for learning and engagement online, which can be easily understood as too

messy to be useful (Grabill & Pigg, 2012).