ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014 - Making science fun: trivial amusement or effective STEM pedagogy?

Basic Information
Application Process: 
ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Making science fun: Trivial amusement or Effective STEM pedagogy?
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
Air Travel Trip: 
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

The United States has been slipping behind other developed nations in educating young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Change is slow in public education, which makes alternative learning centers (from museums, parks, and zoos, to school yards, farms, and summer camps) important bridges to improving STEM education. Informal science programs encourage lifelong learning for people of all ages by establishing emotional connections between people and places through hands-on experiences. In addition, these programs open people’s eyes to the fact that science is everywhere, they help them develop an appreciation for science and an understanding of what science entails, and quite frankly, they teach everyone that science can be fun! "Making science fun: educational programs in the Bay Area" aims to explore, examine, and assess a variety of informal science programs in the Bay Area. Students in the group meet some of the leaders in the field, observe fun science in action, and get involved in teaching.

Trip Leaders
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Camille Jones

As a PhD student at Stanford, I am always seeking to connect the technical and sometimes esoteric work I do in the laboratory to the people whom that research will impact. My own service experiences in education and healthcare help me translate the science I am learning to a K-12 level, show students a real-life scientist, and give back to my community. I have a lot of enthusiasm for teaching others about how science connects to our environment and affects everyone on the planet. As a beneficiary of lots of informal science education, from nature walks at the beach as a kindergartener to college geology field trips on the mountains of Hawaii, I am excited to do more as part of our Thanksgiving Back trip and facilitate a fun, rewarding, and eye-opening experience for Stanford students. In my free time I attempt to grow vegetables in my small garden then cook them into delicious creations. I also love hiking and spending time with friends and family.

Mandy McLean

Hello! My name is Mandy, I am a graduate student currently finishing up my master’s degree in Environmental Earth System Science. I love science and I am a big proponent of interactive science education programs because I feel that curiosity, imagination, and scientific inquiry are some of the most valuable tools a person can have, and they cannot be fully developed from books alone. I am also passionate about the environment, I love exploring it, learning about it, and passing on my knowledge to others. In my opinion, the best way to encourage environmental conservation and sustainable behavior is to instill in people a deep respect and love for the environment. For these reasons, I very much value science outreach.In my free time I enjoy hiking, camping, rock climbing, running, biking, swimming, traveling, and reading in my hammock.