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Scientist-Teacher Action Teams (STAT)

Scientist-Teacher Action Teams (STAT) bring together UCSF volunteers and teachers in San Francisco public schools to teach a series of investigative science lessons around biological, physical, and/or earth science topics in kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms.

I mainly learned that it is very easy to plan and execute great science lessons in my classroom! Working with my two scientists made me realize that it isn't as scary or complicated as I thought it would be. I now have the confidence to plan and teach science in my classroom!

- SFUSD elementary school teacher

I was shown both the value and the challenges that are inherent in being an educator. An ability to communicate clearly, with patience and enthusiasm is admirable at any level of education. The experience heightened my level of respect for all teachers. I have learned about what it means to teach, something that will be very important as part of my graduate school and post-grad career.

- UCSF scientist volunteer

Overview

UCSF volunteers and teachers each benefit from one another’s expertise in these partnerships. UCSF volunteers, a diverse group, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research scientists, gain experience and confidence in teaching and explaining scientific concepts. Teachers and their students are exposed to positive role models in science and have the opportunity to experience inquiry-based science learning. Through their collaboration, teachers and scientists craft lessons with deeper scientific content and enrich the scientific environment in the classroom.

In the 2013-2014 school year, STAT partnered 45 teachers and 60 scientists in 27 teams. Approximately 1500 children in 45 different classrooms had a chance to interact with and learn from UCSF scientists.

Benefits for Teachers

Evaluation of the outcomes of previous STAT partnerships has revealed compelling benefits for teachers that are consistent across program years. Some of the many benefits reported by STAT teachers include that because of their participation in STAT:

  • they are more likely to use hands-on science lessons (92%),
  • they have learned strategies to help them involve all students in science learning (75%).
  • they have deepened both their understanding of scientific concepts (92%) and their knowledge of science content standards and curriculum (88%).

Benefits for Students

Evaluation of students in classrooms of STAT partnerships has also revealed positive effects on elementary students, including increased personal familiarity with scientists and greater understanding of science tools. Notably, the number of students who view themselves as scientists also shows a statistically significant increase, an encouraging finding given that research suggests that young children’s interest in science is a powerful indicator of future attainment of science careers.

Benefits for Volunteers

STAT volunteers also realize many benefits from their participation. Evaluation demonstrates consistent outcomes for our volunteer population each year. As an example, in 2007-2008, all scientist volunteers (100%) report that they learned to explain science concepts more simply and that they improved their ability to plan hands-on lessons. Additional outcomes for STAT volunteers include:

  • gaining confidence in teaching science (82%)
  • learning teaching strategies they will use if they teach undergraduate or professional students in the future (78%)
  • reinvigoration of their love of science (50%)

Information for Teachers

Information for UCSF Scientist Volunteers

 
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