Science is not the same as science fiction, but they certainly have one thing in common. Both focus on our future. Actual science is the underpinning of technology and advancements in almost every field effecting our health, economy and survival. And when it comes to real science, American students are not doing so well.
According to a report card on American schools put out by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) last year, “just 34% of fourth graders, 30% of eighth graders and 21% of twelfth graders are performing at or above “proficient”.
If we are to compete in the global marketplace in this century and successfully face the challenges held in store for us, we must clearly do better.
How do we do better?
Personally, I have kids, and what I have noticed among their friends, starting in elementary schools, is an attitude that science is boring and for “nerds”. My kids know better, of course, as they have been exposed to awesome and super cool science experiments since they were tiny. And there in lies the key. If you approach kids early in their development with clear examples showing how much fun science can be, and then continue to feed the resulting curiosity with more “cool” stuff as they grow, they will become young adults without any negative prejudice about science.
School science assemblies are a perfect tool for doing just exactly that! Most elementary schools lack the resources to show young students the effects of, say, liquid nitrogen, or to expose them to controlled explosions resulting from mixes of various gases exposed to flame. Yet these exact demonstrations appeal to children in a visceral way, reaching them with immediate and lasting results.
For more than thirty years we have been traveling to schools and presenting science assemblies and the results are powerful and obvious. Today we are reaching the end of the run for a very long lasting and successful science assembly which will be retired at the end of this school year. Chemistry! It Really Matters! has been a tireless soldier in this war on ignorance, and as the third incarnation of a chemistry school assembly from Mobile Ed, follows in a long and successful line extending back to our birth in 1979. But all good things must end. In the Fall of 2012 Mobile Ed will introduce a brand new chemistry program to schools in Michigan and beyond. Lacking a title at present, this new Chemistry 4.0 will incorporate some of the best of previous chemistry school shows we have offered in the past along with new experiments, and graphics more related to the times in which we live and directly tied to current academic standards.
But for now, we are sad to part with an old friend. Here is some video of Chemistry! It Really Matters!:
Look for more details of the new Chemistry program is the days and weeks to come! In the meantime, Chemistry! It Really Matters continues to deliver awesome displays to students through June of this year. Check to see if dates are still open in your area.
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN.