College of Chemistry, Berkeley


ChemiCAL Science and Engineering

Chemistry in the Classroom

The Chemistry Department plans to collaborate with Community Resources for Science (CRS) to develop a new program called Chemistry in the Classroom, designed to improve chemistry education in local public elementary schools through an innovative classroom outreach strategy involving UC Chemistry students as volunteer role models for elementary teachers and students.

The goal is to develop a sustainable chemistry role model volunteer program in elementary (K-5) public schools in Alameda County, California. This partnership between CRS and the Chemistry Department will be an expansion of CRS's existing scientist role model program that successfully recruits, trains, and places scientists in elementary classrooms.

To learn more or to get involved, please contact Professor Robert Bergman at ot 510-642-2156.

CRS Background
Community Resources for Science (CRS) is a nonprofit organization that since 1997 has offered an innovative approach to promoting improved science learning for elementary public school students in Alameda County, CA. CRS provides ongoing professional development support to elementary teachers through both workshops and teacher membership services, in addition to offering consulting and research support to science and environmental education organizations, in order to accomplish the mission of building a community of educators dedicated to getting young children excited about learning through science. In the past seven years CRS has worked with more than 1,200 teachers from more than 150 public schools, dozens of science education organizations, and scores of scientists, to engage young students from all backgrounds in powerful science learning experiences.

Elementary students are constantly asking themselves "what do I want to be when I grow up?" Kids respond powerfully to role models, yet young students are exposed to few role models who appear connected with their classroom learning. While the San Francisco Bay Area is full of professional scientists from a wide range of backgrounds eager to share their knowledge with young students, many scientists don't know how to connect with schools and need help to translate their specialized knowledge into age-appropriate presentations for elementary classrooms. Elementary teachers don't know how to locate these scientists or connect their presentations with classroom curriculum. CRS launched the original Community in the Classroom (CIC) program in response to these needs. The CIC program recruits science professionals from diverse backgrounds and provides the training they need to do hands-on presentations that make real-life connections between classroom curriculum and science education and career paths. The program matches volunteer role models with classes, according to teachers' subject-area requests, to make one-hour classroom presentations. In the past year, the CIC program has made more than 60 classroom volunteer placements, getting kids excited about topics ranging from "Sticky Water" to "The Big Bang."

Related sites:
Community Resources for Science