Plan Your Classroom Visit
Before you pull out your goggles, you’ll need to do some research to connect with a teacher and present a lesson plan that supports the school’s curriculum.
Review the Kids & Chemistry resource Tips on Planning Your Visit for additional in-depth safety guides, planning checklists and presentation tips for your classroom visit.
School administrators and teachers welcome volunteers who understand the needs of the teachers and the students, and who can help the teacher accomplish his or her goals. You have a great deal to offer.
If you have a personal connection to the school, use it. Perhaps you’d like to teach a science lesson for your child’s, niece’s, nephew’s or grandchild’s class. Maybe you are neighbors with a teacher at the school. Whatever your connection, start there.
If you don’t know anyone at the school, you can still be a valuable volunteer. Call the principal and ask if you can arrange a meeting to talk about volunteering. Principals want to connect with professionals in the community, so they are motivated to talk with you.
When you’re talking with an educator, explain that you are a scientist in the community and you want to help support science education for the school. If you have experience working with kids, describe what you have done, what the children learned and how they responded.
With strict curriculum requirements, teachers don’t have a lot of time to devote to classroom “extras.” Show that you’ve taken their time seriously and are willing to prepare an age-appropriate science lesson to support the curriculum.
Be sure to explain that you will conduct a safe demonstration with the students. Expand on the details of your safety plan once you’ve determined which experiments and chemicals you’ll be presenting with.
Developmentally-appropriate lessons are those that are age-appropriate and support the teaching requirements for that grade. It will help if you can find out what is required by the state or school district for the grade level before contacting the teacher. For example, third graders may be required to learn about mass and matter. Fifth graders may be required to learn about measurement and fractions. And high school juniors may be learning about nomenclature and writing chemical formulas. It’s important to plan your activity with input from the teacher.
After talking with the teacher, you will be ready to research and select sample demonstrations and safety guides for your presentation.
Share your experience reaching out to educators and students. How do you reach out to schools and plan activities?