The Science Coach program was created to keep teachers teaching science research.
When the top-performing science teachers in a local science fair said that they needed to coach a school sport to supplement their income and wouldn’t have time to help students with science fair projects, we knew something had to be done. The idea of paying science teachers to coach students to complete advanced authentic science research projects was born in 2007.
The Science Coach program is structured like a sports team. A Head Coach and five teacher coaches with 10+ students each make up a team. Students are coached to develop a high-level question/problem to be answered or solved, collect data with current equipment, analyze results, infer appropriate conclusions, and enter the project into juried competition. Science Coaches get compensated for their time, schools receive necessary data collection equipment, and students garner knowledge to prepare them for the future.
In January 2018, the Science Coach program grew from a 6-county innovation to a regional program when they joined BioSTL—a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to build the foundation for medical and plant science, innovation, and entrepreneurial success that is transforming the St. Louis economy.
Since its inception, Science Coach participants have won 13 international science fair competitions. Three participants received top 4 placements in their division in the world at the International Science & Engineering Fair. Participants have invented a home test to determine if a tick is carrying Lyme disease, explored the decreasing bee population, and created an environmentally safe way to eradicate the Emerald Ash Borer. Although Science Coach students have won national and global competitions, we know that developing essential critical thinking skills for all participants is the real win.