From Science with Love

I love science.

I love science so much that I seek every opportunity I can to share the knowledge that science can bring, as well as how it can be used. Most notably, every week I tutor kids in math and science. Kids will be kids, and they want their homework done so they can go out to play. They don’t really care about understanding the finer nuances of the topic. At least not until it applies to something they like and want to do.

However, as most teachers can’t make all subjects fun to every kid at the same time (and sometimes it’s a stretch to get them interested at all), it’s my job as their tutor and science mentor to make these boring classroom topics mean something in about 10 seconds so their short attention spans grasp the underlying fun that science can actually be.

It’s not easy, but here is my method so far when it comes to creating an individual learning environment for each kid:

  1. Find out what the kid likes. I often find that it’s something sports or art oriented, which seems so very far removed from the science and math they are learning in school.
  2. Once you know what they are passionate about, start learning the background of that particular sport or creative skill so you can tie in the lessons as often as possible. It piques their interest and even gets them thinking about the future possibilities where the topic could go to. They naturally take it those few extra steps to challenge themselves.
  3. Keep them on track for their homework while challenging them to think a little beyond it later.

So far I’ve had success with this. The kids are learning and showing more interest in science and math. However, more importantly for their parents, they are passing classes.

The fun part for me is seeing the light go on behind their eyes when they get it. Then, I get to watch them strut around with pride showing off their work and their knowledge. The best part by far, though, is that I can watch them grow, learn, and not be afraid of the topics any more. To me there are few things that top watching a kid go from scared and nervous about math and science to elated and using the skills with their passions.

Kids aren’t the only ones that benefit from this outreach.

To reach out to adults, I host a Science Café called Serving Science at Big Mike’s Cafe Americana so we can talk about geeky topics, challenge each other’s point of views, learn from each other, and more. We also like to teach the non-science enthusiast what we are passionate about, as well as those are borderline on the topics. After all, what could be more entertaining than good food, good friends, and good conversation?

Since starting Serving Science, I have learnt an incredible lot from my peers. I’ve learnt about sustainability and permaculture from Brent Flatt of Indy Garden Works, teaching kids with hands on science from Terri Schulz of Project Lead the Way, and how the study of AI has reflected back on our study of ourselves from professional marketer and science enthusiast, Chris “The Brain” Hoyt.

And we are just getting started.

In all honesty, the Science Café is getting under my skin and I’m getting addicted. I love learning from my fellow enthusiasts, scientists, researchers, and educators. Here’s hoping it never ends.

∴ If you are interested in joining us for a science café either as a presenter or audience member, just reach out! We hold them on the third Monday of the month provided I can find a presenter. I post adverts for it through Insanitek’s social media profiles, which you can find below, as well as the Serving Science Facebook (and soon) the Google+ pages. 

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If anyone has tales of outreach, please share! I’ve love to learn from you your tales of success and woes. 🙂