Mission  |  Team  | Board | Acknowledgments | Support us


 



 

Our Motivation

Why is the sky blue? How do airplanes fly? What happened to the dinosaurs? All children grow up asking questions about the world around them. Even as adults, many of us still remember the excitement of seeing our first baking soda and vinegar volcano and how proud we were of our first science fair project – a paper mache construction of the solar system or a model of cellular organelles with Styrofoam.  Driven by students in high school and college chapters across the nation, ScienceDays mentors aim to help new generation of kids as they discover and explore their natural curiosity in the sciences.

Knowledge of science and technology must be an integral component of basic education; developing a passion for science should not be the intellectual privilege of a small group of students.  Our mission is driven by the current state of science education in the United States and the declining interest among youth in the science and technological fields.  The Business Roundtable Survey reported that "Just five percent of parents say they would encourage their child to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics."  In addition, the science scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2004 reported that over two-thirds of fourth graders are below the science proficiency level.  While ScienceDays does not aim to— in any way— substitute the role of science teachers in elevating the students’ level of proficiency, our organization is primarily involved in—instead—changing and improving the students’ attitude and vision of science.  Cella Jones, a chapter director at John Jay High School in Cross River NY reported, “"On our first visit we had a boy who started the lesson grudgingly, claiming that he 'hated science, it's way boring.'  By the end he was coming up to me with a huge grin exclaiming that he couldn't wait to tell his parents what he learned."

In ScienceDays, high school and college volunteers plan and bring fun lessons to elementary school classrooms with the goal of enriching the students’ early experiences in science and encouraging them to become the scientists of tomorrow. Whether by illustrating the effects of earthquakes with Jell-O or demonstrating the principles of density with oil and water, ScienceDays volunteers use everyday material to demonstrate scientific phenomena and principles in an interactive and creative manner.

Beyond promoting science, ScienceDays is an effort driven by collaborations among students of all ages. By connecting high school and college students with mutual goals, ScienceDays is propelled by the enthusiasm and ideas of a national network of student leaders making a difference in their communities.

Changing Attitudes

In a recent study that assessed students' perception of science by asking them to "draw a scientist", the scientist was illustrated as old and male. 

  He sometimes had a beard. He was bald or had unkempt hair.  He wore glasses and a lab-coat and was usually conducting experiments with chemical materials or dangerous equipment. The common image was that of a scientist as a bespectacled male with unkempt hair in a white lab-coat.   (Scherz and Oren, 2006*)

Furthermore, the lack of public knowledge about women scientists -- especially about prominent women scientists as role models -- has thwarted a thorough understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields as well as women's participation at all levels of science.  The 2004 Report to Congressional Requesters from the United States Accountability Office summarized that while the participation of women in science and mathematics has increased steadily through the past three decades, the progress varies greatly by field, and men still greatly outnumber women in every field.  By exposing young students to creative and interactive lessons taught by a diverse group of high school and college mentors of high aptitude in science and -- often -- extensive research experience, ScienceDays aims to facilitate the development of a vision of science as an exciting and approachable discipline.

*Scherz, Z. and Oren M. (2006) How to Change Students’ Images of Science and Technology. Science Education, DOI 10.1002, 965–985.