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Science mentors for hands-on learning in the classroom

March 10, 2010

From the March 2010 issue of Educational Options:

This past January, Thomas L. Friedman published a column in the NY Times entitled More (Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/opinion/24friedman.html.
Whether or not you agree with Mr. Friedman’s politics, he mentions two exciting initiatives available to our bright students. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Friedman’s column:
 
. . . [T]o reignite his youth movement, [President Obama] should make sure every American kid knows about two programs that he has already endorsed: The first is National Lab Day. Introduced last November by a coalition of educators and science and engineering associations, Lab Day aims to inspire a wave of future innovators, by pairing veteran scientists and engineers with students in grades K-12 to inspire thousands of hands-on science projects around the country.
Any teacher in America, explains the entrepreneur Jack Hidary, the chairman of N.L.D., can go to the Web site NationalLabDay.org and enter the science project he or she is interested in teaching, or get an idea for one. N.L.D. will match teachers with volunteer scientists and engineers in their areas for mentoring.

“As soon as you have a match, the scientists and the students communicate directly or via Skype and collaborate on a project,” said Hidary. “We have a class in Chicago asking for civil engineers to teach them how to build a bridge. In Idaho, a class is asking for a scientist to help them build a working river delta inside their classroom.”

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