Bringing Science To School

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  • 1. Bringing Science to School
    A Guide to Assist Scientists in Bringing Their Research Into K-12 Classrooms
    Marti Canipe (
    Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow 2009-2010
    NSF – Office of Polar Programs
  • 2. Outline
    Why should I visit a K-12 classroom?
    Planning Your Visit
    What do I need to know about ____ graders?
    The Big Day
    After the Visit
  • 3. Why should I visit a K-12 classroom?
    65% of Americans can’t name a living scientist
    (Source: Your Congress-Your Health Survey, June 2009)
    Take science out of the textbook and make it real for students
    Bring an extra element of excitement about science to a classroom
  • 4. Planning Your Visit
  • 5. Planning Your Visit - Logistics
    How many students are in the class?
    How long is the class?
    What are the school’s procedures for visitors? Parking, visitor badges, etc.
  • 6. Planning Your Visit - Activities
    What background knowledge will the students have about your subject?
    If there is vocabulary that they should understand prior to your visit, provide it to the teacher.
    Active learning and hands-on activities are best
    Keep introductions short: 5-10 minutes
    Small group activities are preferable
    Activities in a classroom will almost always take longer than you think they will
    Leave enough time for wrap-up discussions
    Discuss your planned activity with the teacher. They will be able to give you advice on what will work best.
  • 7. Planning Your Visit - Materials
    Ask the teacher what materials and equipment are available
    Remember to ask about audio-visual equipment if you plan to use these in your presentation
    Remember safety equipment (gloves, goggles, etc.) that might be required for your activity
    Be prepared to bring everything you might need with you
    Ask how many sets of materials and/or handouts you will need for hands-on activities
  • 8. What do I need to know about ____ graders?
    Ask their teacher for information about where they are developmentally
    There are general developmental stages, but each child reaches them at a different time
    K-2: direct experiences, time to explore
    3-5: starting to use logic, concrete thinkers, beginning to be able to think about abstractions
    6-8: moving into more abstract thinking and being able to generalize events into principles
    9-12: abstract thinking and generalization skills are much more developed
  • 9. The Big Day
    Introduce yourself: Share something about what you do and how you became interested in science
    Capture their interest with a demo or short activity
    Ask questions to stimulate thinking – be sure to practice wait time (3 sec) after you ask a question
    Relate what you are doing to something they are familiar with in “real life”
  • 10. After the Visit
    Be available for follow-up questions if at all possible – share your email address
    If possible, invite the class to visit your lab or field site.
  • 11. Need ideas?
    Google your topic and lesson plans
    You will find lots of ideas, beware that while there are lots of great lesson ideas on the Internet, there are also some not so great ones
    Check the following websites:
  • 12. Get Involved: National Lab Day (
  • 13. Bringing Science to School – Planning Activity
    Topic: ___________________________________________________
  • 14. Resources and References
    Appleton, Ken. "Analysis and Description of Students' Learning during Science Classes Using a Constructivist-Based Model." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 34.3 (1997): 303-18. Print.
    "Benchmarks Online ~ Project 2061 ~ AAAS." AAAS - Project 2061. Web. 02 Nov. 2009. <>
    Burd, Gail D. "Brain Awareness Week." Society for Neuroscience. Web. 02 Nov. 2009. <>.
    "GK-12 Earth Project Research and Discovery." The University of Tennessee GK-12 Earth Project. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <>.
    Kranz, Bob, Ed Roy, Laura Zahm, Ann Benbow, Colin Mably, Laura M. Rios, and Jason Betzner. "Visiting Geoscientists - An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals." American Geological Institute - Serving the Geosciences Since 1948. Web. 21 Sept. 2009. <>.
    "National Lab Day." National Lab Day. Web. 19 Jan. 2010. <>.
    "National Science Education Standards." The National Academies Press. Web. 02 Nov. 2009. <>.
    "NCMLS Survival Guide for Scientists." National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Web. 02 Nov. 2009. <>.
    "Your Congress-Your Health 111 Poll." Research!America. Web. 02 Nov. 2009. <>.