Science Demonstrations 2018
Shannon Leslie and Richard Crouse, Graduate Students, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University
Science demonstrations help to make complex scientific concepts fun and engaging for students in the New Haven community. Working with various community management teams and Yale outreach groups, Shannon Leslie and Richard Crouse teach students about everything from neurons to galaxies. At one event hosted by the outreach group, Yale Open Labs, Shannon, a graduate student in the Nairn Lab, explored fossils from the Yale Peabody Museum with students while discussing processes of evolution and adaptation. Through an initiative called, Science Haven, Richard, a graduate student in the Picciotto lab, coordinated with local community groups to present a robotic claw demo at a neighborhood showing of Toy Story. At this event students learned about how electricity in the brain communicates signals throughout the body and the ways in which prosthetics might be able to record this signal to control robotic limbs. Through these demo events Shannon and Richard hope to show students the power and fun of science.
Another event organized by Richard Crouse was a “Flipped Science Fair”. As described in more detail here, the Flipped Science Fair flips the traditional science fair format on its head with middle school student judges evaluating current research that is presented by graduate students and postdocs. This unique venue allows Middle School students to learn about cutting-edge research from Yale scientists in a small-group setting, with ample opportunities to ask questions and to participate in hands-on demonstrations. The presenters learn to tailor their research talks to a general audience, with emphasis on keeping ideas exciting, understandable, and relevant. A partnership with Pathways to Science, Yale’s coordinated STEM outreach infrastructure, enables long term tracking of student outcomes to help measure the impact of the Flipped Science Fair.