I have always been passionate about sharing my love of science through teaching.
When my own kids were young, of course I wanted to pass this joy along to them, so I began teaching them at home. But something was wrong. I saw their eyes glaze over and they became bored. What was the problem?
I began thinking about what kind of foundation they would need so we could explore the wonders of science together. What are the building blocks and how do they fit together? Then it came to me: the way most schools teach science is backwards. The fundamentals—physics and chemistry—should come first, and yet students don’t often get exposed to those topics in a meaningful way until eighth grade or even high school. What if I turned things upside down?
This approach made all the difference for my kids, and it was the beginning of the concepts that would eventually form the foundation of A.T.O.M. Science Club.
At schools in San Mateo, I began offering an after-school science program built around these ideas. Not only were the kids eager, ready, and able to learn, I could see the joy in their faces and feel their excitement every week.
A.T.O.M. Science Club was born from my experience with a boy who attended my after school program. One day he came to me in tears because he had been accepted to the district’s gifted-and-talented program, which meant he could no longer attend my after school program because he would be attending a different school. That’s when I dreamed up the idea of a science club and a clubhouse location where students could come to me, no matter what school they attended.
Since then I have worked with hundreds of kids, ranging in age from five to 18. Students who started working with me in kindergarten have gone on to pursue chemistry and other science degrees in college.
I believe that this way of teaching science nurtures kids’ natural curiosity. When I see the sparkle in their eyes I know I have found the right way to explain a new concept or idea.
Let’s fan the flames of their passion!