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Information for Volunteers - Bio&Chem Teach

The Bio&Chem Teach program brings together one middle or high school science teacher and two to four scientist volunteers from UCSF. Bio&Chem Teach teams meet for the first time at a program orientation where everyone learns more about the program’s expectation, SEP shares tips for a successful partnership, and lesson planning begins. Between January and May, each team co-plans, co-teaches and debriefs a minimum of four lessons to two of the teacher’s class periods. The estimated time commitment is 20 hours and includes the orientation, subsequent planning meetings, and classroom time.

You and other scientist volunteers from UCSF will work with middle and high school students (grades 6-12, from 11-18 years old) from the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). To learn more about SFUSD, visit their website. Public schools throughout San Francisco’s different neighborhoods participate in the program each year. Teachers and volunteers are partnered on the basis of school site characteristics and location, volunteer backgrounds and language proficiencies, teaching interests, and scheduling constraints.

SEP has wonderful resources to support your lesson planning– you are not expected to come up with the lessons all on your own. First, SEP is home to the Daly Ralston Resource Center, a lending library of more than 3,000 materials that support hands-on health and science lessons. The Resource Center collections include organ specimens, human organ models, charts, books, videos, and classroom sets of equipment and is staffed by skilled science educators who can help you design your lessons. Another resource for lesson ideas is SEPLessons, a publicly accessible website that provides detailed lesson plans developed by SEP staff and SEP’s partnership teams. Finally, each fall, SEP staff runs the Teaching Workshops For Scientists series. This is a workshop series to introduce you to science teaching and covers topics such as strategies for communicating effectively with students from different backgrounds, planning inquiry-based investigative lessons, and assessing student understanding.

Your teacher partners are also a great resource for your team! They can provide guidance about many aspects of teaching, such as the age-appropriateness and accessibility of the lessons, strategies to engage students, and classroom and materials management. After a lesson, teachers can provide constructive feedback and help facilitate reflection about the lesson.

Bio&Chem Teach has proven to be a rewarding experience for scientist volunteers. Among the many outcomes for scientist volunteers, past participants report that they have learned to explain science concepts more simply through the partnership program (90%) and that they have gained insight into the profession of K-12 teaching (95%). In addition, UCSF volunteers consistently note that the partnership experience strengthens their teaching abilities: volunteers report that they are more comfortable teaching science (88%) and that they have improved their ability to plan hands-on science lessons (88%). Furthermore, past participants report that they intend to use the teaching strategies they have learned through their involvement in Bio&Chem Teach if they teach undergraduate or professional students in the future (81%).

I’m interested – how do I sign up?

Applications for the 2017-18 classroom partnership programs will be available this October. Please check back then for application details.