SCIENTIST OF THE MONTH



LUCILLE BARRERA
WEST UNIVERSITY ELEMENTARY
SECOND GRADE SCIENCE

TOPIC:

Scientist of the Month

PURPOSE:

To attract minority students and girls to science.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

A real-life minority scientist

Invited parents

Camera

Refreshments for parents and scientist

Media (if possible)

Background:

Research tells us that minorities and women are underrepresented in the Math and Science areas of employment. Universities report few minority students and women selecting Math and Science careers. The Scientist of the Month program allows minority students to identify with minority scientists, including women scientists.

Description:

The Scientist of the Month is a classroom activity designed to enhance the learning of science by elementary school children. A minority scientist (includes women) is introduced each month primarily by featuring his/her photograph-preferably illustrating him/her in an appropriate laboratory setting-along with an abbreviated biography, carefully selected articles connecting the scientist with his/her efforts and other relevant information, such as workplace brochures. These materials are arranged as a display in a strategic part of the classroom. The scientists are invited to visit the classroom. The scientists bring demonstrations for the children and interact with the students. Parents are highly encouraged to attend and great effort is made to bring in the minority parents.

Procedure:

Research minority scientists. Collect their pictures, biographies, workplace brochures, etc. Set up a tri-fold board and display a scientist each month. Make your tri-fold board colorful and inviting. The children will look forward to meeting a scientist each month. If possible, arrange a date and time schedule for the scientist to visit your classroom. Notify your principal and all other teachers (ancillary or homeroom) who will need to be informed of schedule changes. Send invitations home to parents ahead of time. Please give parents ample notice so that they can make arrangements at their job. I find that sending two notices works best. Most scientists are eager to help you and will bring hands-on materials for the students. Prepare your students ahead of time and remember that an ethusiastic teacher is a good role model for children to follow.

Let this be a community event. This will make the visit so much more special. Delegate parents to bring a few treats for the scientist and themselves. I keep a tablecloth in my room and set my work table with the table cloth and vase of flowers that the students pick from the schoolyard. We usually have apple or orange juice and a small coffee pot plus some treats at the back table. This brings warmth and provides an inviting atmosphere to our scientist who has graciously given us his/her time to learn about science.

Prepare your students ahead of time. This is a good time to teach manners too. We talk about the importance of good manners and I explain that we should show appreciation to our visitor who is taking time out of his/her job to come to our school. Do not forget to add that we want our visitor to speak good things about us and not bad. Many grownups are a little nervous to visit classrooms. They are afraid they may not be able to handle young students. So, remember to be patient, supportive and encouraging.

Use your camera! Take plenty of pictures and display them in your room or school bulletin board afterwards. The students will like it and the parents will be thrilled with your new program. Send Thank You notes to your scientist.

Assessment:

A good way to assess this lesson is by having your students write in their Science Journals. We keep our Scientist of the Month Journal and write what we learned. At the end of the year we review all the scientists and the students select one scientist or science career that has impressed them the most.

Related Links:

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science


Send comments to Lucille Barrera.

E-mail: lubar80789@aol.com or lubar@cs.rice.edu

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This lesson was developed through GirlTECH '97, a teacher training and student technology council program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC) a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. Copyright June,1997 INSERT YOUR NAME HERE