Real world experiences help bring educational lessons to life. We often think about this in terms of students and how they absorb knowledge, but it also applies to teachers. Conducting real world, hand’s on research can provide unique insight into subject matter and interesting examples that can help bring a lesson to life in inspiring and surprising ways.
For example, imagine a scenario where a high school class is studying a new principle in biology, chemistry, or physics and after reviewing the key points in a textbook, their teacher can show a video, photos, charts and graphs from their personal experience doing cutting-edge research within that specific field. We believe that teachers play a significant role in a student’s interest in engaging with and pursuing fields in the sciences, and that’s why the Murdock Trust continues to invest in the Partners in Science program.
For decades, the Murdock Trust has brought together high school science teachers from around the country to learn from, share with, and inspire each other to continue to find ways to impact their students and prepare the next generation of scientists. Participants have the opportunity to conduct real research in a local collegiate or nonprofit labs during their summer vacation and then connect with other educators through a series of conferences and seminars.
The 2019 Partners in Science National Conference was recently held in San Diego, California, and hosted around 300 high school science teachers, research scientists and professors, retired educators, and guests coming from as far away as New York, Florida, and Alaska. The conference provided an opportunity for teachers to present their research that has taken place over the last few summers in partnership with a mentor at a research institution or lab. Additionally, attendees participated in workshops and off-site tours that encouraged and equipped teachers to find new ways to engage with their students.
While the Murdock Trust’s Partners in Science program is focused in our five-state region in the Pacific Northwest, we have partnered with several similar programs around the country such as Columbia University, University of Arizona, Stanford University (Ignited), Cal Poly STAR Fellows, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Research Corporation to make this a truly national conference. We are so grateful to all of our teachers who are shaping the next generation of students to be curious, thoughtful, and engaged citizens and become the future leaders, educators, and scientists that will go on to do great things.