Kids in the Lab: Getting High-Schoolers Hooked on Science

Posted on January 9, 2008  Comments (3)

Kids in the lab: Getting high-schoolers hooked on science

Ballard is a senior at Madison West High School who is still shy of his 18th birthday. His work with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics is part of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, an innovative project that gives exceptional high-school students an opportunity to get exposure and experience in their desired careers.

Created in 1991, the program is run by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development, with collaboration from universities, schools and businesses. Statewide, more than 10,000 students have participated in 22 different program areas.

Lan says nearly all of her apprentices have gone on to study science as college students, a reward that compensates the time mentors invest working with the young students.

“the [students] don’t really know how science works,” she says. “I think I’m trying to show them, ‘Yes, you can have a career; yes, you can have a family; and yes, you can have fun,'” she says. “Yes, you can do it!”

I attended West High School and enjoyed some science classes. We did unfortunately have one class, biology, where (due to budget cuts, I believe) they let some teachers go, and due to seniority rules for determining what teachers to layoff, we ended up with a teacher that had taught 2nd grade for like 15 years and really didn’t know much about biology. Otherwise the classes were pretty good.

And for Biology we luckily had a smart kid that could answer the other students questions. Though I remember my senior year design of experiments project didn’t go so well: I couldn’t get much to grow at all. So I was not able to actually determine which factors had what influence 🙁

Related: Inspiring a New Generation of InventorsEngineering Resources for K-12 TeachersK-12 Engineering Outreach Programs

3 Responses to “Kids in the Lab: Getting High-Schoolers Hooked on Science”

  1. no name provided
    January 10th, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

    I remember one of my high school classes more than the others. It was Physics. The reason I remember it better than the others is because my teacher would involve us with the lessons by attaching a project to it.

    For example, we made soda bottle rockets to reinforce what we learned in the lectures. These hands on experiments taught me way more that reading a chapter or watching a video.

    I firmly believe in “Action creates inspiration”.

  2. Libby Wheeler
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:58 am

    Hello. I think its important to kids interested in science even BEFORE high school. I received an email about a young boy in the states working a science project in which he has created his own blog and is attempting to reach every country in the world to learn about cultures. How neat is that! I love when students get interested things outside of their own lives. He is also posting (mainly) science facts daily. Lets help this young man out by going to his blog and commenting with some great science or cultural information and passing his blog along

  3. Alternative Career Paths Attract Many Women in Science Fields » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    April 5th, 2014 @ 11:09 am

    […] This sort of compartmentalized approach runs counter to what we know about effective learning: Students need to be able to connect content knowledge and concepts to real-world applications in order to develop mastery and passion for a subject. … The challenge for anyone seeking to […]

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