In Bio&ChemTeach, one middle or high school science teacher is partnered with two to four volunteers from UCSF. The teams meet for the first time at the Bio&ChemTeach orientation (usually in January) where we describe the program’s expectations, share tips for a successful partnership, and provide time for teams to schedule lessons and begin planning. Between January and April, each team co-plans and co-teaches a minimum of four lessons in two classes. The estimated time commitment is 20 hours total (including the planning meetings and classroom time).
You and other scientist volunteers from UCSF will be working with middle and high school students (grades 6-12, from 11-18 years old) from the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). To learn more about SFUSD, visit their website. Public schools throughout San Francisco participate in the program, and your team could be assigned to a school in any San Francisco neighborhood. We do take into account scheduling constraints and distance of the school site from your location and accessibility to public and private transportation during the "matching" process.
Your teacher partners are a great resource for your team! They can provide guidance about many aspects of teaching, such as the age-appropriateness and accessibility of the lessons, strategies to engage students, and classroom and materials management. After a lesson, teachers can provide constructive feedback and help facilitate reflection about the lesson.
SEP has wonderful resources to support your lesson planning– you are not expected to come up with the lessons all on your own. First, SEP is home to the Daly Ralston Resource Center, a lending library of more than 3,000 materials that support hands-on health and science lessons. The Resource Center collections include organ specimens, human organ models, charts, books, videos and equipment, such as classroom sets of stopwatches and stethoscopes. Additionally, the Resource Center staff are skilled science educators who can help you design your lessons. Our online collection of science and health lessons, SEPLessons, provides detailed lesson plans developed by SEP partnership teams and a lesson plan template to guide your team in creating lessons. Finally, each year, the SEP staff runs the Teaching Workshop series for scientists, a workshop series to introduce you to science teaching that covers topics such as strategies for communicating effectively with students from different backgrounds, planning inquiry-based investigative lessons, and assessing student understanding.
Bio&ChemTeach has proven to be a rewarding experience for scientist volunteers. Among the many outcomes for scientist volunteers, past participants report that they have learned to explain science concepts more simply through the partnership program (90%) and that they have gained insight into the profession of K-12 teaching (95%). In addition, UCSF volunteers consistently note that the partnership experience strengthens their teaching abilities: volunteers report that they are more comfortable teaching science (88%) and that they have improved their ability to plan hands-on science lessons (88%). Furthermore, past participants report that they intend to use the teaching strategies they have learned through their involvement in Bio&ChemTeach if they teach undergraduate or professional students in the future (81%).
I’m interested – how do I sign up?
- Applications for volunteers intersted in Bio&ChemTeach partnerships are available each fall. The application process for the 2012-2013 school year is now closed.