Time for something awesome!
It's often the case that the best way to teach students is to have students teach other instead! When it comes to describing a scientist to kids, inevitably they think they have to be old (and sadly male too) where as the reality is that people from all walks of life can be a scientist with the right support. So, why not flip this thinking on its head and show students recordings of TED talks where kids are the creators of ideas? The following presentations were done by students no older than 15 years old... nothing like some role models you age to look up to :)
So with all this all in mind, let's firstly meet Thomas Suarez in the TEDxManhattanBeach talk below who at 12 years old has taught himself to code iPhone apps such as 'Bustin Jieber' and is now helping other kids to learn code.
Want some variety in the presentation that you show to your class? No problem! Check out this TEDxWomen2011 talk by teenagers Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah who were all 2011 Google Science Fair winners and describe their scientific projects into asthma, resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer patients and the degradation of nutrients that occurs whilst grilling chicken.
Next up, maybe your student might like to check out the work of the then 13-year-old Richard Turere at TED@Nairobi in 2013, where he describes a solar powered device he created to help protect livestock from lion attacks. Nothing like solving a pressing problem for your own community;
Inspiring students can create solutions that can save lives worldwide. Check out 15-year-old Jack Andraka presenting his work on creating an inexpensive test for pancreatic cancer.
When it comes to TED talks, these students are really stars. However, in some ways, this could put kids off in thinking that perhaps these kids are somehow more 'special' than them. So, knowing that this is possible, why not show them a simple story about Grade 6 primary students from St Stephen's school in WA who created a simple buckle that could help a young child using Makers Empire.... inspiration for their next 3D printing project?
When it comes down to it, science can be for anyone... you just need the tools and some guidance to get going. Check out this talk via TEDGlobal where neuroscientist Beau Lotto and student Amy O'Toole talk about the work that 25 students did on bees which resulted in the first submission of a scientific article into a peer reviewed journal by 10-year-olds.
So, how can your students get involved in STEM beyond the classroom? Perhaps your students might be interested in learning about citizen science projects happening in your area - you never know, your whole school could get behind a project!
Citizen science projects for kids
You can find out more about citizen science opportunities & entrepreneurial thinking on the FizzicsEd podcast, where we chat with NSW Manager for Inspiring Australia Jackie Randles.
So, what are you going to challenge your class to do? We'd love to know the result!
Find out more about the author
NEW Primary science teaching book
10 TED talks
on teaching science
Using drones in
of a STEAM lesson
Got any comments or want to share your own science teaching experiences? We'd love to hear from you below!