There has been the collaboration of developing curriculum and lessons that will appeal to and instruct our kids. That has been both the challenge and extremely rewarding. I have learned so much also about DNA and bacteria. I am as fascinated as my students by what the UCSF scientists bring to our classrooms. STAT has allowed me to re-energize myself and my students about science learning.
- SFUSD elementary school teacher
The teachers and scientists first meet at a dinner orientation in January, during which they find out more about the program, learn strategies for creating successful scientist-teacher partner teams, and initiate planning with their team members. The team then meets to plan and teach the four lessons in the classroom between January and the end of April. The total time commitment for planning and teaching lessons is typically about 20 hours. SEP staff provide support, including feedback on lessons and help in finding lesson ideas and materials.
Volunteers are UCSF scientists, who comprise a diverse group of science professionals at different points in their careers; they include professional students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing as well as graduate students, research scientists, and postdoctoral fellows. They have a strong general science background as well as detailed expertise in a specific science field. In addition, they will have first-hand experience with science process skills and investigative approaches to science, therefore making them an excellent resource for planning hands-on lessons. Volunteers are often motivated by a strong desire to learn more about teaching and communicating scientific ideas to different audiences as well as wanting to positively impact the community.
Scientist volunteers and teachers on each STAT team are mentors to each other and have much to gain from each other’s expertise. When designing and executing a lesson with their scientist partners, teachers provide guidance regarding the age-appropriateness of a lesson, suitable lesson content, material management, classroom management strategies to check for student understanding, and necessary safety precautions. Likewise, scientists contribute significantly to the lessons. They approach lesson planning creatively and have deep knowledge about challenging scientific concepts as well as about how scientific investigations are actually done.
UCSF SEP offers a wealth of resources to support STAT partnership teams. SEP’s Daly Ralston Resource Center is a lending library that houses more than 3,000 science materials that support science lessons. The Resource Center collection includes organs, models, microscopes and other equipment, and "kits"—essentially a lesson in a box—that can be used for lessons. In addition, SEP staff are available at the Resource Center to provide lesson coaching and ideas. SEP has also developed SEPLessons, both an electronic library of lesson plans developed by teachers and scientists in SEP’s partnership programs as well as a tool, designed specifically for partnership teams, to facilitate their planning together.
I’m interested – how do I sign up?
- Applications for SEP’s 2014-2015 programs will be available in October. Please check back with us then!