March 24, 2015

Teaching STEM Literacy: Professor Egghead Science Academy

By Erin Flynn Jay, Contributing Writer | Literacy Resources Professor Egghead and Science Literacy

Professor Egghead Science Academy doesn’t just preach the good word of cool science; it practices it. The organization offers science and engineering programs for kids in the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley areas.

Professor Egghead Science Academy makes STEM learning accessible and fun

“We are often brought in by teachers who want us to lead interactive science and engineering programs for their students,” said company co-founder Gary Tuch. “We hope that teachers can learn from our style of teaching, as well as get some ideas for future lessons.”

The academy’s mission is to make science accessible, understandable and cool. They run interactive and engaging programs seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, including after-school classes, summer learning and parties.

“We are currently in the process of developing videos that can be used by teachers in the classroom — or kids at home — for free,” continued Tuch.

80/20 rule for hands-on science and engineering learning

Tuch said the academy has an 80/20 rule for its programs: Kids have to be learning hands-on at least 80 percent of the time. “Kids learn best by doing, so our goal is to create a lesson that has kids actively experimenting, rather than listening to someone talk on and on,” he said. “As of now, students can earn the Egghead Degrees in six areas, including Rocket Science, Extreme Engineering and Exploration.”

Tuch hopes that science resources for kids keep increasing; the Professor Egghead Academy has plans to expand to the East Coast over the next year. His goal is to make science accessible for everyone, building a network of Eggheads nationwide.

With the increase in demand for “STEM with substance,” Tuch sees a bright future for the academy and others who share their mission. “We are always looking to add new degree programs, and are currently working on coding and secret agent science,” he said.

Tips for teachers: incorporating science and engineering into classwork

Tuch offered tips for teachers on how to implement interactive science and engineering programs into their curriculum.

Keep concepts simple and steps minimal

Focus on a specific concept each lesson, design experiments to reinforce that concept and don’t overwhelm students with too much at once. A lesson that has too many concepts, ideas and steps takes away from the students’ ability to experiment or build, he said. The age-old saying “less is more” applies perfectly to this idea.

Use the scientific method in each lesson

Implement the scientific method in every lesson, and you will be sure to have an engaging, interactive lesson. Give the students a problem, have them come up with their own solution, let them test their theory, and if they get it wrong, let them try it again.

“The thing to remember is that science and engineering are super cool! Kids love to get their hands dirty and their minds thinking,” concluded Tuch.

Erin Flynn Jay is a writer, editor and publicist, working mainly with authors and small businesses since 2001. Erin’s interests also reach into the educational space, where her affinity for innovation spurs articles about early childhood education and learning strategies. She is based in Philadelphia.

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