Little Scientists in Action
The Scientific Thinkers Program is a year-long effort to regularly
expose 4th and 5th graders at a Columbus City Elementary School to scientists
and scientific inquiry. This program strives to help the students in this
economically disadvantaged Columbus City School enjoy science and gain
confidence in their abilities as students and scientific thinkers through the
collaborative efforts of teachers and graduate and undergraduate student
volunteers teaching inquiry-based lessons.
are three main aspects to the in-class methods:
• Meet a Scientist –
The volunteer introduces the students to one interesting topic in his or her
field of research explained at a basic level.
This is presented in a discussion-based format, allowing the students to
relate to the volunteer as a scientist.
• Be a Scientist –The
volunteer designs and delivers an inquiry-based lesson aligned with the state
science standards that engages the students in hands-on experiments and
• Learn about other Scientists
– At least 3 projects per year expand beyond the curriculum to more complex
science topics. For example, the students might learn about graphene, starting
with a closer look at pencil lead and leading to a discussion of the Nobel