Did you know that between 15,000 and 20,000 K-12 students participate in science education programs and tours at Fermilab every year? (March 2017)
For 30 years I have lived within a 40 mile radius of Fermilab yet had never visited the facility nor had I thought of Fermilab as an educational resource until last week….and why not??
If I’m being 100% honest, Science has never really been my cup of tea…Reading, Math, Tech, S.S….I’ve got it, but science I struggle with. Neutrino beams, muons, particle accelerators….it is all too conceptual for me, I do better with facts and concrete topics.
I did teach Science when I was an elementary teacher; however, in teaching the other content areas I used the standards as my curriculum and I used/found materials and created lessons aligned to the standards differentiated for students needs. I did not use a basal for any of my content areas….except science. I am embarrassed to say that I stuck to my manuals and did my best to use science related trade books within my other content areas to help reinforce concepts, but they were not the interdisciplinary units they should have been. Had I known then, what I know now I would have given Fermilab a call to help me out!
If in the classroom now, I would immediately call the Teacher Resource Center at Fermilab. The resource center is open to all K-12 personnel to access an extensive, current collection of resources including supplemental books, digital resources, newsletters, reports, etc.. You have the ability to bring a team of colleagues with you to review the materials or go on your own to peruse through them. Don’t worry though there is staff available to assist with your curriculum and instructional needs. What a great way to support those interdisciplinary units?!?!?
After utilizing the Teacher Resource Center, I would then start to explore the many workshops and field trip opportunities at the Lederman Science Center within Fermilab. The idea of taking my students to Fermilab would be a bit overwhelming at first thought, what would we do there? My initial internal dialogue would be kicking in….”I sure hope a docent would be available”!
Once again, Fermilab has that taken care of too! Not only do they have docents available to help guide field trips, but all teachers are required to attend a workshop prior to bringing students on a field trip so that all teachers are 100% prepared to get the most out of their field trip for their students. Most of the workshops are offered either for graduate or PDH hours (whichever the teacher prefer), as an added benefit Fermilab offers scholarships to help offset the cost of the workshops for the educators/districts! The field trips are then free of charge to any teacher (who has taken the workshop) to bring their class to Fermilab as many times as they wish. Scholarships can also be applied for so that the transportation charge to take the field trip can be reimbursed as well!!
Fermilab is committed to developing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce and stimulating science literacy. With so many resources in our backyard it is a waste to not be utilizing them.
Please contact me if you need help arranging your visit to Fermilab or feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss how Fermilab can support your classroom, building, or district science initiatives/implementation.
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning