Carnegie Scientists Contribute to Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers

Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers at DTM
On the right: Teachers Jeremy Wolf and Kelly Peterson use DTM’s mass spectrometry instruments to find the age of zircon crystals within rocks. During their visit to the Scanning Electron Microscope, teachers also had the opportunity to “drive” the same instruments scientists use for geochemical analysis. Right image credit: Aubrey Vaughan.
Thursday, August 24, 2017 

A group of 21 teachers visited Carnegie’s Broad Branch Road (BBR) campus on August 3, 2017 as part of the Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers on Earth’s History and Global Change, a program designed to introduce K-12 teachers to world-class scientists, strategies for science education, and resources to support their science classes.

“All of the teachers get to meet world experts and see that these are real people who are incredibly excited and enthusiastic about what they do,” said Carnegie’s Emma Bullock, who led the Academy’s visit to BBR as a Scientific Coordinator. “These scientists hope that teachers will carry that enthusiasm back to their classrooms and inspire students who might never have thought about science at all.”

Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers at the National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Aubrey Vaughan.

Teachers from various U.S. regions including states such as California, Michigan, and Texas, toured BBR facilities and met with Carnegie scientists, who gave lectures and presentations about geochemistry topics, scientific techniques, and instrumentation.

During their visit, teachers first learned about radioactive decay from Bullock, who gave a lecture and led a fun activity to demonstrate the concept of radioactive decay using chocolate candy. Carnegie’s Rick Carlson, Mary Horan, Tim Mock, Steve Shirey, and Suzy Vitale also participated by giving tours of BBR’s state-of-the-art facilities.

“Science is often seen as a scary, impenetrable field of people in white lab coats writing equations on white boards,” Bullock said. She has participated in the Academy for three years now. “The Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers is designed to cut through some of the mystique and show that science is open to everyone.”

The tour of Carnegie’s facilities was part of a weeklong program that included visits to Smithsonian museums and other cutting-edge research centers, where teachers learned about Earth and solar system origins, global climate change, and the Smithsonian Institution.

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