Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exposing Students to Scientific Theory

So I'm very passionate about exposing children to science early, but I'm cognizant of the fact that not all children are raised with the opportunity to meet and speak with a scientist, or to attend local activities that teach basic science.

For this reason, I've devised a method for a class of middle school students to visit my lab. This will be the first time students will visit our lab, and it's an isolated event, but my hope is to have more classes visit in the future.

There are several reasons I wanted to do this. First, I find it important for students to see that scientists come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. This is especially important for students of lower socioeconomic status, those from underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds, and those who affiliate with underrepresented groups. Second, seeing the diversity that comprises scientific labs can encourage students and make careers in science more accessible goals. Finally, students need to begin to understand how useful scientific theory can be, and how it can be used to make incredible scientific and medical discoveries.

How did I arrange all this? I didn't really.

One of the guys I dated had a daughter, who was about 13. Based on information he gave me, his daughter didn't seem to have a specific interest in any school subject. Therefore, I offered to have her and her classmates from the military school she attends visit my lab for a field trip. I assured the guy that she was welcome to visit my lab regardless of how things ended between he and I.

Anyway, he passed my contact information along to her science instructor, who in turn, contacted me.

The guy I was seeing didn't inform me of the timing of when he passed my contact information to the instructor or when the instructor would contact me, so I was surprised and excited to receive the instructor's email.

Since that initial contact, the instructor and I have been working to pinpoint an exact date for their visit. For now, they plan to visit in May, but an exact date hasn't been established.

Over the next couple weeks, it's my job to 1) find out what the students have learned this year, especially most recently, 2) identify topics that would be of specific interest to the students, and 3) identify where the science we do in our lab overlaps with what may most interest the students based on what they've learned this year. I intend on discussing these 3 items with the instructor. I certainly want to do my best to incorporate his recommendations for what we should teach the students and show them through experimentation into the sessions I develop for the students.

I look forward to meeting the students, either those of this class, or another class of this instructor, if this class isn't able to visit prior to the end of the school year. In the future, I'd also like to identify additional local science instructors that would like to have their students get hands-on learning experience in a university research lab.

No comments:

His Awesome Splendor

His Awesome Splendor
Upon seeing this view, I knew I had to capture it.

My Fave...

My Fave...