This year our science department decided to invite our community members to the high school to learn about science. Not only was this a chance for us to bring the joys of science to the public, it was a chance for our students to share their knowledge outside of class. We decided to focus the event by choosing a theme that we thought would tie together all of our different scientific disciplines. We decided on ‘climate change’ because we thought that climate science was fascinating and was also an important issue that all people should learn about.
After proposing this idea to our students we took a day early in the year to bring all of the science students to our auditorium to hear a presentation on climate change. We then went back to our separate classrooms and had students study different aspects of climate change that related to our content areas. Physics students studied human energy use, chemistry students studied ocean acidification, biology students studied the evolutionary implications of climate change, etc. Students then put together projects on their research questions that they could present at Science Night.
We invited guest speakers – a climate scientist and local meteorologist. We marketed the event around the school, in the local newspaper, and in the school newsletter. We also asked our students to invite as many people as they could.
We hosted the event on a Friday evening in May. The first hour of the event included a presentation from local meteorologist Ross Ellet on Toledo’s weather history.
…I also gave a presentation on climate change and had students come up and help me with some demos.
…and students had a live Skype conversation with climate scientist Richard Alley.
We then invited everyone out to the lobby to join us for cookies and coffee while talking to students about their projects.
Overall, it was a positive event that we hope to build on in the future. It gave our community a chance to learn science and our students a chance to share their knowledge outside of the classroom. Many departments like art, music, athletics, and theater all invite the community out to appreciate their crafts…why not science!?