Students Sharing Science: Cal Poly SLO Student Chapter Outreach

Madeline Hansen and Celia Thurman, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

The California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo’s student chapter has participated in outreach in the San Luis Obispo community and surrounding area since its inception in the 2014-2015 academic year. Our current outreach program was founded in 2015 and has grown and been modified, now consisting of two separate 5-week after school science programs for grades 1-3 and 4-6 at Los Ranchos Elementary. Each meeting has a different science focus such as cells, plants, DNA, the human body, or chemistry. We chose to focus on a different topic at each meeting so that the students are exposed to a wide variety of science disciplines, allowing each student to find his or her niche and passion. We incorporate age-appropriate, hands-on station learning in a fun and engaging way in order to get students excited and passionate about science as a whole. It is our goal to choose experiments that use common household products when possible so that students are able to recreate these experiments at home, further exploring and building on our discussions during the club meetings. In doing so, students are able to reinforce what they have learned, connect abstract concepts with real-life issues, continue their discovery at home, and spread their knowledge to others (such as siblings and friends), thus increasing the impact of our program. Our program is particularly important with the current changes in science education in our region. Schools in California are working on adopting the Next Generation Science Standards, but full implementation of these standards take time. Consequently teachers have few provided resources for current science education in their classrooms, and science lessons are often incorporated into lessons on other subjects. Our after school program gives students a designated time to focus solely on science and to realize its importance. It is our hope that the students who participate in this program walk away with a newfound curiosity for science and a framework for scientific exploration, in alignment with the mission of the ASBMB Student Chapters.

Link to poster