Sarah: For children, part of the process of imagining their future involves them thinking about what their ideal job will be, and what a typical ‘day in the life of’ will entail.
“ I want to be a fireman, ‘cause I want to drive a fire engine really fast, save people and meet lots of girls”
“I want to be a hairdresser, ‘cause I’m good at creating glamourous hairstyles”
“I want to be a teacher, ‘cause I’d love to work with children, and improve their lives”
“I want to be a scientist, so I can…um….wear a lab-coat? Mix potions and blow up stuff?”
What is that scientists actually do? How many kids actually have the chance to chat to a real scientist, or see them in action?
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! is a science engagement activity designed to counter this problem. It provides a pathway for school students to talk to real scientists online for 2 weeks. By asking any questions they like (yes, anything!) via live chat or online forums, the students can get to the bottom of what it really means to be a scientist and ‘do’ science. For the scientists, effective communication is the key, with students regularly voting for their favourite expert. Similar to ‘reality’ TV shows like X-factor, scientists with the least amount of votes are ‘evicted’, until only 1 remains to be crowned the winner.
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! is currently in its third year of production in the United Kingdom, and is running right now. Here’s a sample of some of the Q&A happening between students and scientists at the moment:
- what do you think are the main qualities you need to have to be a scientist?
- how do Tsunamis come?
- would it be possible to train/build a robot that is able to fight in wars?
- how many places in the world have you been for your work, and where are they?
With support from NETS (DIISR) and DFEEST, Bridge8 is planning a limited pilot of the Australian edition of I’m a scientist, Get me out of here! for June 2011. While preliminary planning is already underway, we are currently looking for additional sponsors to allow for greater participation from scientists and schools. Please get in touch if you’re interested, we’d love to chat!