Sharing science with the world is one of the best perks of the job! Below are highlights from a few activities I’ve had the opportunity to participate in over the years.
At Brown University, I’m a coordinator for our departmental K-12 outreach program, DEEPS STEP: Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (DEEPS) Science Teaching and Education Program (STEP). We are working to design lesson plans for elementary school science, using an inquiry-driven approach that addresses the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that Rhode Island and many other states are in the process of implementing. Check out our program right here!
Every two years, the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii hosts a public Open House. Thousands of people show up over the course of two days to learn about their planet and how we study it. Julia Hammer’s group is always in charge of the explosive eruptions exhibit, which I was lucky enough to participate in four times. Pouring a bit of liquid nitrogen into a soda bottle and closing the lid provides the driving force for an “eruption” of water and hollow plastic balls from a sturdy trash can.
In 2014, my PhD advisor and I were interviewed on ThinkTech Hawaii about our work. I speak about our research on a martian meteorite around the 34 minute mark.
Throughout my time at UH, I helped Scott Rowland teach middle school students about earthquakes, via a hands-on activity. Students set out geophones, whack a strike plate with a large hammer attached to a computer, read the resulting seismogram, and triangulate the man-made earthquake location. To help some who struggled a bit, I created a simple and silly activity for students to complete beforehand, to get a handle on the concept of graphing and velocity. You can download it for your classroom use here.