Elementary Education: I Didn’t Know I Could Dig Science.

[flickr id=”6159360371″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”] SHOW & TELL SALON

One of the first big projects given to the Graduate Ambassador team is to present on our program at the Show & Tell Salon. The great thing about the Show & Tell Salon is that all graduate students are invited to attend. The bigger purpose (other than getting a platform to really showcase what we do in our individualized programs) is to allow for us to have an opportunity to connect with people outside our program. I was initially a little nervous about what to present as I am a newbie in my program, but after an amazing teacher training this weekend, I’ve decided that I’ll be presenting on an informal teaching opportunity our program was given this year, called Scientists for Tomorrow.

Our cohort was first introduced to Scientists for Tomorrow at our orientation. It is an after-school program for middle school students that has three learning modules: Alternative Energy, The Science of Sound, and Plants & People. The program received a grant from the National Science Foundation and one of the huge factors in the grant is that the teachers of this program come from the Elementary Education and Art Education MAT programs. It’s a great opportunity for us to become well-versed in a new curriculum while also gaining experience for our resumes. And having a science background is very marketable in the field right now, so being provided this teaching experience directly from Columbia is awesome.

[flickr id=”6159359091″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”] All this being said… I am not a science person. At all. Throughout middle and high school I was told this. Not directly, granted. Just very subtly I would be pushed towards the more creative outlets and endeavors (that I was very naturally adept at). The thought of teaching middle school students science was initially very scary to me. My mantra for the school year, however, is “I’m going to try really hard,” so I figured I would go to the training and just see if it would be a good fit.

And it turns out? That I really like science! And I’m kind of good at it! Marcelo Caplan (the brains behind this operation) has an extremely approachable attitude about science. He makes the curriculum for everyone. My thoughts throughout the entire session were, “I want to learn from him,” and “I want to teach like him.” In a six hour day we learned the basics of alternative energy, how a battery works, and we each built a motorized cart. We were soldering wires and building motors in just one day. I felt so proud of myself as I worked, and it became clear very quickly why students must love this program (and why he received the grant). The curriculum is outstanding, and I can’t wait to get out in the schools and teach!

[flickr id=”6159897860″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”center”] So, for next week’s blog post, I’m going to cover something that I think is huge… something I’ve been tossing around as to how to approach since I first found out I was a Graduate Ambassador. I’m going to blog about how I knew I was ready to go back to school, some great advice I got while I was starting the process of picking a program, and the burning questions I had as I started to think about continuing my education.

See you next week!