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Heard in the Hallway at ABLC–Science from Scientists, a Teacher Resource
by Joanne Ivancic* (Advanced Biofuels USA) It's the personal connections you make at conferences that provide that added value that webinars and online learning just can't beat. That's how I found out about Science from Scientists, an educational nonprofit that puts scientists into classrooms in a structured program.
A critical component of the Science from Scientists philosophy is the need to send real, charismatic scientists into the classroom, during school every-other-week for the entire school year. SfS has always been a during school program because we believe that every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to STEM, not just those in after school programs who are already interested, or whose parents sign them up.
The goal of Science from Scientists is also to improve student attitudes towards STEM by providing, role-model scientists in the classroom who have other interests and hobbies, helping students to understand that scientists are often well-rounded individuals, not the stereotype frequently portrayed.
During a break, a scientist gave me an example of such stereotypes. He recounted enjoying Saturday morning TV with his child, just the two of them sharing time together. And, how he kept turning the channels whenever an image appeared of the mad scientist, the scary chemist, the bad person that scientists were portrayed to be. He wanted his child to see scientists, and his chosen profession, as positive, contributing good to society. He was amazed at how often children were exposed to the negative stereotype; and how rarely they were encouraged to see science as positively productive and exciting.
To find more about Science from Scientists for your local schools--or as something you as a scientist, engineer, mathematician, technology expert, would like to contribute time to, go to www.ScienceFromScientists.org
. Take a look at the lessons and kits: www.sciencefromscientists.org/lessons
Perhaps what started the conversation was that at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington, DC last week, Jim Lane gave me the opportunity to announce our effort to bring together people to march at the March for Science (April 22)
and the People's Climate March (April 29)
in order to let people know about the importance of science to developing sustainable, renewable fuels; and that biofuels and the bioeconomy is part of the solution to climate change mitigation. That this is part of our educational mission.
I hope that you can join us there--or get involved in a satellite march closer to home. Contact me at info @ AdvancedBiofuelsUSA.org or 301-644-1395 for more information.
*Joanne Ivancic serves as the executive director of Advanced Biofuels USA.