At January’s Revere School Committee meeting Chief Operating Officer from Science from Scientists Amanda Schutt gave an overview on her program’s work in the Revere School system.
Science from Scientists was founded by Dr. Erika Ebbel Angleto in 2002 to address the STEM workforce gap with the specific mission to teach and inspire the next generation to identify and solve real-world problems by improving STEM literacy.
“When we look at our students at the high school level they are really lacking proficiency and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields,” said Schutt. “What we see at the high school level is only about 17 percent of students are interested in the STEM fields nationwide. Our organization is really interested in working with the other 83 percent who are either not scoring well in science technology, are not interested or just don’t think they are smart enough. We want to inspire these students and motivate them and help them see that they have the possibility to become a scientist, an engineer or mathematician in the future.”
Science from Scientists have found there are several reasons 83 percent of students may not be interested in math at the middle and high school levels.
These include social pressure because excelling at science is often seen as ‘uncool’; teacher Preparedness because many teachers feel anxious and unprepared to teach Science due to time constraints; out of date content where science content is always being updated and classroom teachers feel anxious teaching content that has since been updated outside of the textbooks; lack of hands-on labs where students rarely have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning; lack of parental involvement because parents struggle to find opportunities to extend students’ learning at home; and no aspirational role models where students in elementary and middle school rarely have the opportunity to interact with STEM professionals and role models outside of their doctor or dentist.
Schutt said here in Revere Science from Scientists has been running an In-School Module-based Instruction in lower grades to make STEM exciting and interesting once students get to middle and high school.
In this program Science from Scientists partners with elementary and middle schools that serve students in its target population of grades 3-8. Science from Scientists sends the same two real, scientists into schools in Revere to see the same group of students every other week throughout the entire school year. During each of these visits, Science from Scientists instructors coordinate with classroom teachers to select one of 90 plus engaging hands-on lessons in STEM.
“What makes this program unique is that it takes place during the day so our scientists are in the school from first bell to last bell with all students in any given school that day,” said Schutt.
Schutt said Science from Scientists has been measuring improvements in Revere Schools through a pre-program quiz and post program quiz. So before the program starts in any given school year students are given a quiz to see their proficiency on STEM topics. After the program the students are given another quiz to test what they’ve learned and their comprehension.
In Revere elementary schools students would score 41 percent and that number would jump to students getting 55 percent of answer correct two weeks into Science from Scientists.
In Revere middle schools, students would score 63 percent on the pre-program quiz and that number increased dramatically with students answering 84 percent of the questions correct two weeks into the program. Science from Scientists also hosts their Scientist-Teacher Partnership (STP) program. The STP program is designed to help teachers feel more comfortable preparing and leading hands-on science activities by providing guidance, resources, and time to incorporate field-tested lessons into existing curriculum. After the program, Revere teachers leave with readily implementable activities, a suite of adaptable teaching strategies, and the support of the Science from Scientists instructional team.