Students Intuitively Know What Engages Peers
One of the greatest resources any Teen Science Café can have is a strong Youth Leadership Team. The Academy of Science – St. Louis, a site in the Gateway Teen Science Café node, reached out to the community and drew Youth Leaders from across the metro area. Since our focus is on middle- to high-school-age students, we invited both groups to join our Youth Leadership Team.
Older students embraced a mentorship role with the middle school students via a Mentoring Committee. High school student Courtney Vishy took her role quite seriously by preparing educational materials and activities for each Café.
For our Café, Bionics: A Lesson in Biomechanics and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI), knowing that the topic might be a bit difficult for younger students to understand, Courtney developed a brief fact sheet on BCI. She focused her attention on the basics, keeping it simple and easy to read so students could go into the Café with an overview understanding of the topic before hearing from the bio-engineer. Students used her fact sheet to ask questions about BCI.
For April’s Emergency Room Medicine Café, Courtney created the Doctor Name Game, a typical matching game with a medical spin. Students took to the game, matching doctor specialty descriptions to career areas while enjoying refreshments and waiting for the Café to begin. We even used the activity with adults at another event, and they really enjoyed playing!
The Youth Leadership Team is an opportunity for students to stretch their imaginations and realize their potential. Students create and develop projects and activities for exploring science and STEM. Students often know better than the adult leaders what will excite and engage their peers. Allow students to take the lead on Café planning and projects and you will be amazed by the results!
Access Courtney’s Resources:
Authored by Rose Jansen and Carolyn Noe at the Academy of Science – St. Louis