No More Boring Science [Guest Contributor]

Guest contributor Maureen Kelleher reports in about a big science education event earlier this week:

"No More Boring Science! And how to fund it -- Such was the toast and the

rallying cry for these representatives from the Field Museum and Project

Exploration at the Adler Planetarium Wednesday night, schmoozing at

the opening reception for the Coalition for Science After School's first

national conference."

Click below to read the full writeup -- and a special shout out to a regular reader here. Got some ideas about science in Chicago? Let us know.

"The room was full of over 100

people involved in informal science, technology, math and engineering

(STEM) education. That means, for the most part, they are outside

of schools. And lots of them like it that way just fine.

Conference co-sponsor Gabrielle Lyon, director of Project Exploration,

summarized a common attitude among informal educators toward traditional

classrooms: "Get out of our way and let us do it."

"It seemed to me that classroom

science teachers got a bad rap Wednesday night. "Why is classroom

science so boring?" a conference participant asked University of

Chicago physicist Edward "Rocky" Kolb. "I"m a science

educator, and my 15-year old daughter hates science." He doesn't

blame her. "There's so much material. It's so hard; they just drill.

She's going to turn off."

"I wish I knew what the

answer was," Kolb answered. "Most of you are in informal education.

I think that's an important part of the solution."

"Here's my shout-out to Chicago's

classroom science teachers. I know lots of you are not boring; I've

reported on your teaching. (Karen Lewis, I'm talking to you, among others.)

I also know many of you teach in the regular classroom and then do science

in after school and summer programs, too. What do you think needs

to be done to make science more engaging, and where is that most likely

to happen, inside or outside the classroom?

"If you'd like to tackle the

problem of ending boring science, Eileen Sweeney of Motorola Foundation

might give you about 40 grand to do it. "If you've got a good idea,

if you've got a big idea, we're here to fund the kind of work that you

do." Innovation Generation grant applications will be available

January 1 through March 1 of 2009 and winners will be announced in the

fall. Click below to see a list of past winners. You'll see in the Chicago

area there are museums, community agencies, charter schools and suburban

districts. Although the Office of Math and Science won a grant, regular

CPS schools are conspicuously absent. What's up with that?

Coalition for Science After

School: www.scienceafterschool.org

Project Exploration: www.projectexploration.org

Motorola Foundation: www.motorola.com/giving

Click Here (past winners): http://www.motorola.com/content.jsp?globalObjectId=9099

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