• As a MySTic (MyScience Trainee in the Classroom) you bring SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE, particularly related to: the scientific method, fair testing, careful measurement, and replication.
• You also bring YOUTHFULNESS and NEW IDEAS. You are closer in age to primary students and through this connection they may respond well to your ideas and suggestions.
• The way that primary students learn and speak about science investigations is at a simpler level than in secondary school. Younger students often need a fair bit of guidance, support and saying the same thing over a few times!
• FAIR TESTING in primary school classrooms uses the acronym: COWS MOO SOFTLY.
• COWS represents CHANGE ONE THING (independent variable).
• MOO represents MEASURE SOMETHING (dependent variable).
• SOFTLY represents 'KEEP EVERYTHING ELSE THE SAME (controlled variables).
• Classroom POSTERS help students to remember what to do such as those at the top of this page.
• You need to INCREASE your personal knowledge of the class theme that underpins all of the scientific investigations that the primary students will be doing. The class teacher determines the theme.
• You will probably be working with 3 - 4 primary students, GROUPED in either pairs or threes. This means that you will be working on 1 - 2 different investigations related to the class theme. Group members work on the SAME question.
• MySTic Roles and Responsibilities are listed in the 'centre' column.
MySTic Roles and Responsibilities
A MySTic (MyScience Trainee in the Classroom) is a Year 9/10/11 student
• UNDERSTAND the steps of the MyScience program
• COMMUNICATE the steps of Working/Investigating Scientifically to primary students
• UNDERSTAND the criteria** being used to assess students’ work
• BUILD personal knowledge of the science underpinning students’ topic
• WORK COOPERATIVELY with an adult Mentor e.g. your science teacher, and with them, tailor support to meet students’ interests, knowledge and abilities
• MAKE SUGGESTIONS and/or assist students to design investigations that reflect fair testing and scientific method
• SUGGEST to students possible websites and information sources directly relevant to their investigations
• ANSWER questions to clarify students’ experimental design
** e.g. Young Scientist Assessment Rubric (see Resource button to RIGHT)
Doing MyScience as a MySTic:
• helps BUILD UP leadership and collaboration skills.
• enables you to get your FOOT IN THE DOOR in pursuing scientific careers.
• develops your CREATIVITY as you work with primary students to create an experiment and find creative ways of presenting the data that you have found.
• is about being ENTHUSIASTIC and HAVING FUN with the kids, while still FOCUSSING on the experiment to achieve the overall outcome.
You need to:
• UNDERSTAND the primary students' ideas, they will not be as advanced or content driven as yours.
• RESEARCH and LEARN about the topic outside of mentor sessions.
The following steps can be used to learn some background information about the topic the students are investigating before Session 1 (first school visit).
By the end of Session 1 the goal is to have decided on and created a plan for an interesting question for both the primary students and yourself.
The steps are:
1) Define the topic that the primary students are doing e.g., 'Designing and building model houses to survive an earthquake'.
2) Briefly describe what the topic involves e.g., 'What are the design features that stop structures from collapsing/falling when shaken?'
3) Write 3 questions that you have about the topic e.g., In real earthquake areas what type of houses are stable? What design features are used to prevent high rise buildings from collapsing in earthquakes? Are some building materials better than others for houses in earthquake areas?
4) Answer the questions in (3).