Student teachers do best when they teach something they know well. It doesn't
necessarily have to be what they are studying at Berkeley; but in order to
pull out the key points necessary for the lesson, the topic should be
something they can explain easily to you (without having to do a lot of
Try the lesson before you go. Some of our lessons sounded good until we sat
down and actually did them. It was a good way to evaluate the quality of the
instructions and the overall experience before the kids went through it. That
a lesson is posted on the web doesn't guarantee that it's actually a
worthwhile learning experience.
Try field trips on weekends. Students are loathe to miss school (Double X kids
are often the most diligent), and after school they often have too much homework
to committ to something off campus. I would consider asking for a $5 deposit for
field trips, so that kids thank a little harder about whether or not they will
actually come. It was a bummer to arrange an afternoon of activities only to have
students back out at the last minute.
There are things I would definitely preserve for next year because I think
they work well: escorting student teachers to the school sites; all the
planning questions mentioned in the "How To" section; making sure the lessons
are activity/lab-centered; starting with the crowd-pleaser topics and working
our way to more complicated projects; pairing student teachers when possible;
including a worksheet with reference information, lab instructions and "if
you're interested" web sites; bringing snacks ( that are low in sugar!);
asking student teachers to talk about their science backgrounds; bringing
student teachers together at the beginning and the end of the term; having
someone in the Outreach Office responsible for creation and upkeep of the
I'd like student teachers to talk more about when and how they started being
interested in science as well as experiences that were trying in their science
careers (and how they got through them). Some student teachers mentioned that
they would be interested in spending more time in classrooms, helping science
teachers and providing a role model for a wider range of students.
As far as the student population is concerned, I'd like to recruit more kids
at Oakland Tech - perhaps ask other science teachers there about students
they've identified as promising and make home phone calls or visit them in
their science classes.
Next year we should include a pre- and post- questionnaire to provide us with
information on whether or not the club is achieving its goals.