Experiences in the New York Academy of Sciences STEM Mentoring Program (Invited)

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American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

In the Fall of 2010, The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) established an after school STEM Mentoring Program. The program recruits both current graduate students and postdocs to teach an after school curriculum to 4th-8th graders in any of the following areas: genetics, human body systems, space science, earth science, robotics, or math. Since its inception, the program has grown and now has branches in New York City, Newark (NJ), and other locations. My talk will focus on my experiences within the NYAS STEM Mentoring program during both the Fall of 2012 and the Fall of 2013 (expected teaching fellow). As a teaching fellow, I not only developed a unique curriculum in Earth Science Education, along with my teaching partner, but also delivered the lectures and executed various laboratory exercises to maintain a hands-on learning environment for the students. I will discuss the development of a coherent earth science curriculum, focused around the theme of ‘Natural Disasters’ and culminating in our semester-end project in which the students completed an AGU-style presentation for community members. I plan to describe how the students’ perception of earth science changed from the program’s beginning to its end 10 weeks later. Best practices of the inquiry-based, student-centered curriculum will be discussed, with the hope that they can be applied across similar educational and outreach opportunities.