You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself. – Galileo
Imagine if engaging, passionate science teachers were paid to foster that same enthusiasm in their students? How many teachers’ and students’ lives could be transformed? What could be discovered? Who could benefit?
The Science Coach program is just starting to find out how our world can be changed by creating generations of critical thinkers. The program leverages the expertise of a head coach who has participated in the International Science Fair to share their knowledge and experiences with five teacher coaches, and supports them as they coach 6-12th grade students to create high-level science research projects.
A team can be formed anywhere there are five teachers who have at least three years’ experience teaching science. Ideally, the teachers are in the same or neighboring school districts.
Like sports coaches, teachers are paid for coaching, provided necessary data collection equipment, and receive college credit as well as funds for student project supplies.
The head coach receives a stipend and is responsible for each of the five teacher coaches, who also receive stipends. In addition, Science Coach is free to schools and the program covers all student competition entry fees.
Like any sports team, the Science Coach program has a schedule, complete with a busy season and an “off-season.”
- May: Head coaches and teacher coaches are selected.
- June and July: Head coaches train their teacher coaches.
- August-January: Teacher coaches work with students using the program’s research curriculum to help students develop an idea for a project, refine questions, design the project, get Scientific Review Committee approval, and conduct the experiment/project. Head coaches are available to answer questions and provide support throughout this time.
- March-May: Teacher coaches aid students in entering juried competitions, with support from head coaches.
If a teacher is on a Science Coach team for three or more years, they get to keep all of the scientific equipment! In addition, the Science Coach program continues to support student ideas that have commercialization/licensing opportunities or can add value to a growing body of research, connecting students to industry leaders and vetting ideas for commercial viability!
“The Science Coaching program has provided my students the resources necessary to conduct science fair projects and has helped me be a better teacher.”
– Ben Martin
“Being a Science Coach has been a very rewarding experience. I feel much more confident and knowledgeable about helping my students achieve success when doing independent research. Many of my students have won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the Mastodon Art/Science Regional Fair as well as special awards ranging from scholarships to the opportunity to apply for additional science fairs, including the International Science and Engineering Fair. ”
– Amy Kimbrell, High School Science Teacher and Science Coach, Crystal City, MO.