How many schools are still receiving Science Outreach lessons? How many students are being served?
Annual Contract Schools Overview 2020-2021
East Palo Alto: 3 schools, 1566 students
Santa Clara County Funded Title One Schools: 3 schools, 810 students
Palo Alto Unified School District: 6 schools, 2,112 students
Totals: 12 schools and 4,488 students
What has the process of pivoting to online lessons been like for you?
Last April, after “in-person school” shut down, a few of us in the Education Department sat down and began to discuss our options for offering remote science lessons in a virtual format. Being that the plans for local schools were in a fluid, ever changing state, we had to plan for a variety of options.
Our primary goals were to be able to continue to provide:
- The high quality science lessons that our schools are used to receiving from us.
- The personal JMZ staff to student to teacher relationships that our schools expect and enjoy.
- The back and forth interaction with the kids, that is so important to us as JMZ educators.
We had no idea at that time what “school” was going to look like.....whether the schools would be in-person with modifications or fully remote or something in between. We knew for sure that kids were not going to be able to work together in groups or share any of the materials needed for our lessons.
Since we normally offer over 60 different individual science lessons, we needed to first review each lesson to determine whether it would be feasible and practical to teach in a virtual format. Some of our lessons use expensive scientific equipment like measuring devices and microscopes that we simply cannot provide to each child. We also use some very valuable materials in our lessons like fossils or animals/biofacts that we could not loan out to every child. And, still other lessons use certain chemicals that we did not want the kids using without supervision. In the end we narrowed down our options to about 6-8 lessons for each grade level.
We then had to modify some of the activities for each of the lessons so that kids would be able to participate as easily as possible, while learning mostly on their own without adult supervision.
Next, we researched and purchased the products that would:
- Work for the lessons;
- Be easy to use for the kids;
- Be as earth-friendly as possible since our materials would be totally consumable; and,
- Not break the budget. We have not increased the prices for our programs but in reality, the materials cost has ended up being very expensive this year.