Outreach to Schools: The Reward for Good Work Is Being Allowed to do Science!

As part of its mission of providing support for Faculty and Students who wish to work with the schools to encourage the students to study science and mathematics, the MRSEC purchased a class set of “Snap Circuits Kits”. These are a commercial product which allows students aged 8 and above to build electronic circuits that make lights switch on and off, run fans and even can be used to build AM and FM radios. Although purchased for use by the MRSEC faculty, the kits have been made available for all Faculty and Students in The University of Alabama community. The pictures show graduate student Rene Horton who took the kits on a week long tour of middle schools in Louisiana. The kits have proven so popular with students, that sets have been loaned to two local area schools, University Place Elementary and Verner Elementary, where teachers have been using them as a reward for successful completion of class assignments. The success of the kits is due to the “hands on” nature of the experience, and illustrates that all children in this age group have the capacity to learn and enjoy doing science. The kits make it clear that doing science can be fun.