Chemistry Discovery: A Service-Learning Outreach Course Produces a Workshop Series for Middle-School Students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Service-learning college courses and service-learning components of traditional courses combine discipline-specific learning objectives with service activities in the community. Chemistry Discovery is a one-unit service-learning course focused on chemistry outreach at the University of Arizona. In a collaborative learning environment, the enrolled undergraduate and graduate students design and produce a series of workshops for local middle-school students visiting the university campus. The course offers a framework for outreach efforts for which students receive academic credit while also enjoying the freedom to select and optimize hands-on educational modules. A content emphasis is placed on the chemistry of everyday objects and on its illustration in accurate terms that are also appropriate for a middle-school audience. The second half of this semester-long project is dedicated to the presentation of workshops, which occur during class time and on the university campus. In the end-of-semester reflection on the experience, the student presenters consistently indicate that their science communication skills are enhanced by the program and that they have a positive impact on the audience on the basis of formal and informal feedback from our visitors. Chemistry Discovery provides a sustainable curricular platform for students and faculty interested in outreach to step into the leadership role of science communicators and to inspire younger students to pursue scientific knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4019-4025
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Volume97
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2020

Keywords

  • Collaborative / Cooperative Learning
  • Communication/Writing
  • Elementary/Middle School Science
  • Graduate Education/Research
  • Public Understanding/Outreach
  • Upper-Division Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

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