With the new school year upon us, there was no better time to spread the word about Project MERCCURI with science teachers at the sixth largest public school system in the nation, Florida’s Broward County Schools.
I was invited to speak with science teachers from across the county about the importance of creating a positive STEM culture in students’ daily lives as well as how to help students be citizen scientists in their own classroom. There are so many possibilities and many shared their innovative ways of incorporating STEM into daily activities or semester projects with their students. It was so inspiring and it reminded me why I love what I do when I am teaching in the classroom myself. There is so much more to teaching science…there’s an opportunity to really touch students’ lives and ignite their initial interest in STEM careers from an early age.After a short chat with the amazing group of teachers, Dr. Lisa Milenkovic, STEM Supervisor for Broward County Schools, assisted me in demonstrating what Project MERUCCURI is all about. We shared with the group how this project (collecting microbes from different areas in the nation to compare them with microbes found in the International Space Station), can be a fun way to incorporate their students into this nationwide effort and also be a part of their lesson plans. Dr. Milenkovic and I swabbed our cell phone and shoe samples and helped the accompanying teachers do the same in small groups. We collected over 20 samples from the groups. The findings will be shared with the groups once they are available via www.spacemicrobes.org. This was of great interest to the teachers!
This was a very positive experience and it’s evident science teachers across Broward County are excited for the new year and ready to engage their students in science in new and creative ways. Here’s to a great start of the school year and success in Project MERCCURI!
Mari Campuzano, M.S.