Over the past decade, hundreds of middle schoolers have visited the museum and University of Michigan research labs as part of our Science for Tomorrow program. They came from communities that are underrepresented in STEM fields and on college campuses, and, with the museum’s help, these students met real scientists and discovered how science and research work in real life.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring most classes to be taught online, we could no longer go to the classrooms or bring students to the U-M campus,” said Museum Outreach Manager Jeanna Fox. “So we decided to breach the computer screen and bring hands-on science into the homes of students.
Museum staff assembled more than 1,200 science kits with materials to conduct two experiments each. The kits, which meet state curriculum objectives include safety glasses, beakers, thermometers, rulers, rubber gloves and other elements needed for the experiments. Teachers receive lesson plans, worksheets, and videos or slide presentations.
“Any given school year, time to complete the curriculum and the budget to do it, are always challenges that we face as teachers,” said science teacher Shelley Lesko, Garden City Middle School. “This school year we were faced with an added challenge of teaching science virtually. The museum stepped in and provided countless hours putting science kits together and the money for the materials.“
The experiments, developed by Jeanna and other staff, are based on the research of three U-M faculty members: Gyorgyi Csankovszki, professor, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Dominika Zgid,associate professor. Chemistry; and Selena Smith, assistant professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences. Researchers work with the museum to fulfill grant requirements to share their research with the public.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the kids, especially those who have begun to disengage from science class,” said science teacher Christa Graham, Washtenaw International Middle Academy. We feel very fortunate to be a part of this program.”
Hundreds of kits were delivered to Washtenaw International Middle Academy and Garden City Middle School where they will be picked up by the students.
If you would like more information about Science for Tomorrow you can contact Jeanna Fox at Jeannaf@umich.edu or by phone at (734) 615-7116.
Classes, home-schoolers, groups and families can enjoy science fun with our Virtual Field Trips from anywhere!