Scientist in Residence Program Provides Unique STEM Learning Opportunities

     Published on 6/27/17   Tagged under:    District News    Academics    Dr Weeks Elementary School    Ed Smith    Westside Academy at Blodgett   

Fifth grade students at Dr. Weeks, Westside Academy at Blodgett and Ed Smith experienced unique science experiments thanks to a Scientist in Residence program through the New York Academy of Sciences and instruction from SUNY-ESF students.
The program was launched this year in the SCSD as a pilot program in enrichment science classes and was intended to expand scientists’ pedagogical skills and exposure to teaching as a potential career while also increasing students’ exposure to hands-on science, STEM professionals and STEM career pathways.
Four SUNY-ESF students – ‘Scientists in Residence’ – were partnered with SCSD enrichment instructors to spend about two hours a week in the classroom. There, they planned a long-term science experiment for students to take part in. These experiments led students to care for and propagate spider plants, learn about the impact of gravity, study ecosystems, the atmosphere and more.
“One student called me over at the end of the class and showed me her math notes,” SUNY-ESF senior Stephanie Vasteno said. “She was telling me how easy the math was and that she wanted to learn more. I told her if she really liked math, she could become an engineer! I told her that’s what I am going to school for and I explained what engineers do. She said she wanted to become an engineer just like me! She has inspired me to never give up and to keep sharing my passion and motivation with the students and other people.”
At Dr. Weeks, students learned about ecosystems. One student was so inspired by the lessons that she created a rap about the sun – which she shared with her classmates.
“We’re the bridge between the students and science,” SUNY-ESF junior Hailey Smalley said. “It was really uplifting for me to see this ten-year-old girl who was so passionate and inspired about science. It reminded me of the role I play as a teacher. It’s not just about the material knowledge; it's about connecting with these kids and helping them get excited about learning.”
What a unique #SCSDSTEM opportunity – thank you to the New York Academy of Sciences and SUNY-ESF for bringing it to our classrooms!