The University of Nebraska State Museum will host a special free admission edition of Sunday with a Scientist in partnership with the Lincoln Public Schools’ Community Learning Centers (CLC) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) students and faculty on Sunday, December 11 from 1:30-4:30pm at Morrill Hall.
Middle school students from across Lincoln will present their own hands-on activities to museum visitors. The activities will focus on topics of animal behavior including migration, reptile feeding patterns, mimicry, mutualism, plus more. Mentored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln undergraduate and graduate students, the LPS students have been hard at work during the fall semester researching and developing activities as part of a year-long initiative led by Dr. Eileen Hebets, biological sciences professor at UNL.
“This project is an exciting example of how community partnerships positively impact youth and encourage their interest in science,” said museum director Dr. Susan Weller. “By combining our resources and expertise with the Community Learning Centers and Dr. Hebets, we have together created a unique experience for these junior scientists with their UNL student mentors. I hope the community will support them and come to this special free event.”
The program provides a multigenerational approach to education in the natural sciences. UNL students receive formal instruction by Dr. Hebets and invited colleagues from across campus on how to construct and deliver effective informal science activities. Trained UNL students then serve as after school science club leaders, working with middle school students in the CLCs. These middle school students and CLC staff, in turn, connect with elementary students in additional joint elementary/middle after school science clubs. This vertically integrated peer instruction design leads to a richer learning experience for all students, and ultimately a broader awareness of the natural sciences.
“This capstone event provides our participating middle school students the unique chance to be leaders, role models, and science-educators to not only their partnered elementary school students, but to their peers, their families, and to the broader Lincoln community,” said Dr. Eileen Hebets, biological sciences professor at UNL. “Occasions like this offer unparalleled opportunities for youth to increase their self-confidence, their science identity, and their science learning”.