Michael Buckley didn’t wake up in the morning expecting to touch 50,000 volts of electricity, but he did… and here’s why
Tag - Hands on Science
Our workshop team always enjoys a trip to Dallas… especially when the workshop is at the Gaylord Texan. By now you’d think that the hotel would understand that velvet table cloths and brightly colored liquids probably are not a good mix. Nearly 250 teachers attended the Dallas Hands-on Science Boot Camp ranging from early childhood through high school (but the vast majority of teachers fell into the pre-K through 5th grade range). Before the workshop starts, I make it a point to talk to as many participants as possible and ask them what they expect to take away from the workshop. The Dallas teachers shared a common response… “I want to find ways to get my kids excited about science and engaged in their own learning.”
Shanna Morris from Little Elm, Texas attended the workshop because she wanted to find a way to make teaching science more fun for herself. “After 22 years in the classroom, I want to find a way to re-ignite my own spark for teaching science. If I’m having fun and learning, I believe that it will rub off on the kids.
The audience of teachers (PreK-Middle School) was especially lively during our Hands-on Science Boot Camp in Tampa. The turn-out was great with over 180 teachers packed into the ballroom at the Westin Hotel and each teacher had his or her own reasons for attending. One third grade teacher told me that her school had cut her science time down to less than an hour per week. She was told to “integrate science into her curriculum” if she wanted more time for the “secondary” subject. Other educators (and a handful of home schooler and science museum program coordinators) attended in hopes of taking away some new hands-on science activities in an effort to spice up their existing curriculum.
It was also great to see Rhonda Newton and her cadre of teachers at the Tampa Boot Camp. Rhonda connected all of the science activities from the workshop to the Florida State Science Standards and shared it with the group. Huge thanks from everyone!
As we wrap up the workshop at the end of the day, I often wish that I could pull the same group of teachers back together three to six months later to see if the learning objectives and teaching strategies really had an impact. We’ve all attended workshops or presentations where we laughed a lot and had a great time, but what was the take action message behind all of the fun… and did it change the way I teach? In other words, can a science education speaker do more than provide a motivational message during a day-long workshop?
Desh Bagley answered my questions when she was interviewed by CnewsPubs.com a few weeks after attending the Tampa Hands-on Science Boot Camp. Bagley is an informal science educator is owns and operates TechPlayZone, a science and technology center for young people. Desh understands the need for finding creative ways to get kids excited about learning science. Here’s what she had to say…
Ooops… that should have read… Freezing an Unforgettable Science Experience in the Minds of Young Children (but the first one is so much more catchy…)
I spend a lot of time training early childhood teachers in ways to make science more fun and meaningful in their classrooms. Gone are the days of collecting leaves in a plastic baggie and calling it science. Today, the best early childhood professionals are pulling out the stops and do everything possible to expose their children to real science. Of course, with real science comes real fun. Nan Papiernik and Beth Dovenspike from Colorado College Children’s Center are both amazing early childhood science teachers who are reaching out to the community and finding real science experience for their children. Nan and Beth called upon Professor Kristina Lang from Colorado College to introduce children to the concept of changing temperature to make things freeze. What could be better than using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream?
The genius part of this strategy is…
If you’ve ever enjoyed wearing a bottle of Diet Coke after dropping in a roll of Mentos, you know that the reaction is immediate. I’ve always thought that it would be cool if you could slow everything down and really look at the reaction. I shared the idea with our friends at Mentos and they shot this slow motion video. There are a few frames where you can see the carbon dioxide gas coming out of solution being attracted to the tiny pits (nucleation sites) on the surface of the mint. For the tech-nerds in the audience, a Phantom 9.0 high-speed digital camera from Vision Research (2,000 frames per second) captured the slow-motion footage.