Science Coaches is a joint American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) educational outreach initiative dedicated to enhancing science skills in students across the United States. The program pairs chemists (coaches) with AACT teacher members in elementary, middle, and high schools. Coaches accepted into the program will have the opportunity to form a valuable relationship with a teacher by volunteering face-to-face over the course of a school year.
A coach and AACT teacher member partner together for one school year. The coach and teacher may apply together or may apply individually and be matched with someone who is geographically nearby.
For this year, we are still requiring a minimum of 6 meetings (about 1–2 hours in length), but they can be virtual rather than in-person meetings. You can use whatever platform you are most comfortable with — Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. As safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society, we want to ensure coaches and teachers feel comfortable and safe in their collaborations during these uncertain times, and many schools may be operating in a virtual/hybrid manner anyway, at least at the start of the school year. As always, we will try to match teachers and coaches regionally, so if you are able to safely meet in person at some point during the school year you will be able to do so, but again, it is not required.
Through their participation in Science Coaches, the teacher’s school will receive a $550 gift certificate from Flinn Scientific or a $500 donation from ACS to enhance science education.
Why Become a Science Coach?
Each chemist's experience and enthusiasm for science are valuable contributions to share. Science Coaches can make learning more meaningful by relating concepts to real-world applications while being supportive of a science teacher.
By volunteering as a coach, you are giving back to your community in a new and creative way. You will make a difference in the lives of the teachers and students, whether helping directly with lab demonstrations and experiments or behind the scenes by creating lesson plans.
It Enhances Chemistry Education
By lending your expertise as a coach, you bolster the chemistry knowledge of a teacher and extensively their students, to advance science education at that school. Teachers participating in Science Coaches also receive a $550 gift certificate from Flinn Scientific or a $500 donation from ACS or a to enhance science education in their classroom.
It’s Easy and Fun
Each partnership is different. Coaches can work directly with the teacher in front of the students, or they can help behind the scenes with lesson planning and lab design. They can also help with science fairs or Chemistry Olympiad, make real-world connections to chemistry, give presentations on their research, organize chemical stockrooms – the program is flexible based on the teacher’s and coach’s goals. This is an opportunity to be creative and to inspire the next generation of chemists!
Who Can Participate?
Anyone with a chemistry background or expertise is encouraged to apply as a coach. Past coaches include:
- Chemistry professionals
- Chemistry graduate students
- Chemistry professors
- Retired or semi-retired professionals
- Former or retired chemistry teachers
Teachers participating in the program must be current K–12 educators and members of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT).
- Coaches and teachers must reside in the United States.
- Coach-teacher partners may not to be married to one another
or share finances.
- A current teacher may not serve as a coach for another teacher.